The Effect of Chemical Warfare Agents on the Immune System of Survivors in Halabja


  • Salih A. Hama College of Science, University of Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Author
  • Bahrouz M.A. Al-Jaff College of Education, Kalar, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Author
  • Bakhtiar M. Mahmud College of Medicine, University of Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Author



Chemical warfare, Immune system, Immunocompromised patients, Immunocompetence, Cell-mediated immunity, Antibody-mediated immunity


To evaluate the incidence of immunocompetence, including cell-mediated and antibody fitness, among survivors of the chemical bombardment of Halabja in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, forty exposed and forty unexposed subjects regarded as controls were studied to determine their immune system status 12 years after bombardment. Skin reactivity to tuberculin, D.T.P. vaccine, T.T toxoid and measles vaccine was negative in 62.5% of the exposed cases in compare to unexposed persons who showed no negative reactions 0%. The total leukocyte count was normal among 70% of exposed cases, whereas the total lymphocyte count was within   sub-normal ranges in 80% of exposed cases. All the subjects displaying negative skin reactions had sub- normal lymphocyte counts, which reflect impaired cell-mediated immunity. The immunoglobulin assay for   exposed cases revealed sub-normal values for IgG (12.5%) and IgA (52.5%), while the IgM level was above the normal range in 22.5% of cases when compared to that of controls that showed no abnormal values. This result revealed that there was a deficiency in antibody-mediated immunity. There were significant differences between the exposed and the control samples with respect to total leukocytes (p = 11× 10-5), neutrophil count (p = 0.88 × 10-3), lymphocyte count (p = 0.0), IgG (p = 0. 74 × 10-10) and IgA (p = 0. 1 × 10-10). The immunological reactions were more closely related to the effects of mustard gas, which appeared to be long lasting.


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How to Cite

The Effect of Chemical Warfare Agents on the Immune System of Survivors in Halabja. (2007). Journal of Zankoy Sulaimani - Part A, 11(1), 41-52.

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