What is the Havana Syndrome and how is it affecting US officials?

In late 2016, a strange sickness known as “Havana Syndrome” began affecting US diplomats and intelligence officials in Havana, Cuba’s capital. A variety of symptoms, including headaches, nausea, memory loss, and other cognitive problems, were reported by victims. Medical specialists were perplexed by the initial cluster of instances. Roughly 5 years later, as many as 200 cases involving US officials have been recorded in nations such as Russia, China, Colombia, Uzbekistan, and the United States.

What is the Havana Syndrome? While information on the Havana Syndrome is limited and is still currently being investigated, here is what we know.

“The condition is characterized by a broad range of unexplained symptoms that include migraines, fatigue, vertigo, anxiety, dizziness, memory lapses and cognitive impairment. Some of those affected have said that they felt as though they were hit by a blast wave or beam of energy. In some cases, the symptoms were intermittent; in others, they persisted and required long-term care.”

From The Washing Post’s article, “What to know about ‘Havana Syndrome,’ the mysterious illness affecting U.S. officials around the world

The first case dates back to 2016, where CIA officers at the U.S. Embassy in Havana started showing signs of the Havana Syndrome. Officials were being evacuated when they found out that tissue damage similar to that found in individuals with concussions after a bomb explosion or a vehicle accident were found in the brain scans. The US and Cuba had just recently established diplomatic relations after decades of hostility, and some observers suspected that the occurrences were the result of assaults aimed at undermining US-Cuban reconciliation. Cuban officials denied any engagement in the illness or knowledge of it.

While cases are becoming more public, the reasoning behind how or why this is happening is still unexplainable. The inexplicable symptoms were first thought to be caused by a sonic or acoustic weapon, according to investigators. In 2018, a different medical evaluation suggested that the illness might be caused by exposure to microwaves, which emit energy at a radio frequency. There have also been speculations that it derives from intentionally directed radio frequencies from a foreign government. Although the US government is prioritizing finding the root cause of this unexplainable illness, leading to conclusions are hard since there is not hard proof of where this could have originated.

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