What are the symptoms of Havana syndrome?

HUNDREDS of Americans have come forward with symptoms relating to Havana Syndrome, most of them being US intelligence officers.

One former CIA agent described the incident that led to his Havana Syndrome as “a mass casualty event.”


Havana Syndrome is a set of medical issues reported by US and Canadian embassy staff in Cuba dating back to 2016Credit: Getty

What is Havana Syndrome?

Havana Syndrome is a set of symptoms reported by US and Canadian embassy staff in Cuba dating back to 2016, hence its name relating to the city.

Symptoms of Havana Syndrome include sudden vertigo, nausea, headaches, and head pressure.

Many reported hearing a large noise and intense pressure in their heads, leading to dizziness and even visual disturbances.

A team of doctors that studied the symptoms reported nothing like them had ever been reported in medical literature.

What causes Havana Syndrome?

The actual cause of Havana Syndrome is unclear, but reported symptoms appear to come from direct wavelength energy.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine revealed in 2020 that the symptoms were consistent with the effects of directed microwave energy, which Russia has long studied.

In 2018, US intelligence officials considered Russia a leading suspect in attacks that would result in Havana Syndrome, but this is inconclusive.

The reason for the attacks is believed to have occurred in an effort to gather digital data from US intelligence staff, but this remains just a theory.

Who does Havana Syndrome affect?

Almost half of the reported cases of Havana Syndrome affect CIA officers or their relatives, 60 involve Defense Department officials, and another 50 are linked to the State Department.

FBI agents and personnel report experiencing symptoms while overseas, especially in Europe and Central Asia, with about a dozen occurring in Vienna.

The first Washington DC case was reported in May 2021 with the US investigating a possible microwave attack.

On August 24, 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris’ flight to Vietnam was delayed for three hours due to an “anomalous health incident” believed to have been Havana Syndrome.

However, it was not confirmed that it had any relation to the syndrome.

Most recently in September 2021, it was reported a CIA director team member had symptoms of the condition during a trip to India.

A CIA spokeswoman declined to confirm the case but said the US government and the agency are taking every incident seriously.

She said: “Director Burns has made it a top priority to ensure officers get the care they need and that we get to the bottom of this.

“We’ve strengthened efforts to determine the origins of the incidents, including assembling a team of our very best experts — bringing an intensity and expertise to this issue akin to our efforts to find [Osama] bin Laden.”

What has the US government said about Havana Syndrome?

Regarding the Havana Syndrome cases, an FBI spokesperson said: “In keeping with DOJ policy, the FBI can neither confirm nor deny the existence of specific investigations.

“However, we will direct you to recent statements made by Director Wray in testimony before Congress where he underscored the protection, health, and well-being of US government personnel is the highest priority; we view all US government personnel who have these symptoms as potential victims and will treat them as such; and we care deeply about our colleagues in the federal government.”

A Defense Department also addressed the matter, saying: “The Department is heavily engaged on this issue as a part of the [National Security Council]-led interagency process across the federal government to address anomalous health incidents, and is fully committed to determining both the causes and source.

“The safety, health and welfare of our personnel remains a top priority for the Department.”

The Biden administration encouraged US officials to come forward if they are experiencing symptoms.

‘Havana Syndrome’ attacks appear to be increasing on US soil

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