US secretary of state Anthony Blinken said that the US is trying to find out all it can about the Havana syndrome after four US diplomats working in Geneva and Paris have fallen ill with the suspected neurological illness, according to a report by news agency BBC.
Blinken also said that the US discussed the matter pertaining to Havana Syndrome with Russia but nothing has been determined until now. While speaking to US news agency MSNBC he said that he held meetings with American diplomats across the globe and said that the psychological condition has disrupted lives of several of them.
“People were directly and powerfully affected. We don’t know exactly what’s happened and we don’t know exactly who is responsible till date. We are working overtime across the entire government to get to the bottom of what happened, who’s responsible,” Blinken told MSNBC in an interview.
Another report by the Wall Street Journal says that the diplomats fell ill due to the Havana Syndrome last summer. The diplomat posted in Geneva was also flown to the US after falling ill with the suspected neurological illness.
Cases of Havana syndrome have been reported in Paris and Geneva and were also earlier reported in diplomats serving in Austria, Serbia and Germany. Last year, five American families in the US embassy in the Colombian capital Bogota also fell ill with Havana Syndrome. Cases were reported among former president Donald Trump’s staff and among diplomats working in Beijing as well.
Two other notable cases of Havana syndrome were also reported last year. A member of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief Bill Burns said he suffered from symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome. Another member of US vice president Kamala Harris fell ill with similar symptoms during her visit to Vietnam last year.
The name Havana syndrome draws its origins from the incident in 2016 when several members of the CIA and their family members working in the Cuban capital complained of symptoms while working there, soon after Washington and Havana decided to restore bilateral relations. In the last six years more than 200 cases of the psychological illness have been reported.
The US blames China and Russia for using microwaves for espionage and as a covert sonic weapon. Both nations have dismissed US accusations, though several reports from news agencies show that all three nations have tested microwaves and its impacts, with Russia and US experimenting with microwaves since the Cold War.
People who have suffered with symptoms of Havana syndrome complain of headaches, dizziness, cognitive difficulties, tinnitus, vertigo and trouble with vision, hearing and balance. The Wall Street Journal report also highlighted that several staffers suffered from the symptoms years after they reported the incident.