§ The Countess of Mar
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is the formulation of the Biological Agent Treatment Sets (BATS) issued to British troops during Operation Granby; what are their known side effects, and whether the troops were informed of their formulation, purpose and side effects.
§ Lord Henley
Specific details relating to medical countermeasures against biological warfare agents are classified, but Biological Agent Treatment Sets (BATS) issued to British troops during Operation GRANBY consisted of a licensed antibiotic. Each individual was issued with one set, together with printed instructions for its use. The antibiotic was to have been taken by mouth on the orders of the local commander when the presence of a biological warfare agent was confirmed. No biological warfare agents were detected in the Gulf and it was not therefore necessary for orders to take BATS to be issued.
Side effects to any antibiotic are uncommon but can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and skin rash. All troops were informed of the general nature and purpose of BATS but, because they were only to be used to combat life-threatening biological warfare attack, an explanation of their potential side effects was judged to be unnecessary.