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Reps. Garbarino, Zeldin, Suozzi, Introduce Liver Fluke Cancer Study Act

February 23, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-2) joined Representatives Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) and Tom Suozzi (D, NY-3) in introducing the Vietnam Veterans Liver Fluke Cancer Study Act, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control, to conduct a study to determine the prevalence of “liver fluke” amongst the veteran population and the link between a veteran’s service record and affliction, paving the way for veterans to claim a service connected disability under their Veterans Affairs benefits.

“After putting their lives on the line to defend our freedom, we owe it to our men and women in uniform to provide them with the proper support and access to the very best healthcare,” said Congressman Garbarino. “I’m proud to join my colleagues from Long Island in urging the VA and CDC to conduct a study to determine any exposure and risk our Vietnam veterans may have had to ‘liver fluke.’ A study is in the best interest of the health and livelihoods of our veterans, and I look forward to seeing any exposed veterans receive the treatment they have earned.”

Congressman Zeldin said, “I am deeply concerned about the Liver Fluke parasite that has infected so many of our nation’s veterans, especially our brave service members who were deployed to Southeastern and Eastern Asia. Preliminary reports appear to have indicated these veterans are carrying the dormant parasite Platyhelminthes, commonly known as ‘liver fluke’, which in several instances has led to the contraction of very serious, life threatening health conditions such as bile duct cancer and liver disease. Our nation’s veterans have earned nothing less than the highest quality care, and it is our responsibility as a nation to develop a plan, secure funding to test all veterans whose service exposed them to ‘liver fluke’, and if necessary, provide appropriate care, and do so as soon as possible. That’s why today, I was proud to continue to fight on behalf of these very veterans by reintroducing legislation that requires a long-overdue study of this disease and paves the way for infected veterans to receive the treatment they have earned.”

“Too many Vietnam Veterans living on Long Island were exposed to liver fluke during their service abroad and it continues to cause anxiety among them today,” said Congressman Suozzi. “To what extent how many veterans have been exposed to liver fluke must be studied so we're better equipped to combat the diseases caused by this parasite. A study is a step towards finding firm answers to alleviate the anxiety our veterans are living with.”