About 100 CIA officers, family members sick due to 'Havana Syndrome'

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jul 23, 2021, 02:50 PM(IST)

Medical staff talk to each other before entering the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the El Tunal hospital in Bogota, Colombia June 12, 2020 Photograph:( Reuters )

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Tapped by US President Joe Biden as the first career diplomat to serve as CIA chief, said in a National Public Radio interview that he has bolstered his agency's efforts to determine the cause of the syndrome and what is responsible

About 100 CIA officers and family members are among some 200 US officials who have fallen sick by "Havana syndrome," CIA Director William Burns said on Thursday. 

Even though the syndrome is unexplained, US scientists say that it is most probably caused by directed microwave radiation.

Tapped by US President Joe Biden as the first career diplomat to serve as CIA chief, said in a National Public Radio interview that he has bolstered his agency's efforts to determine the cause of the syndrome and what is responsible. 

Also read | 'Havana syndrome': Mystery illness affects Vienna US diplomats

He further confirmed that among other steps, he tapped a senior officer who once led the hunt for Osama bin Laden to head a task force investigating the syndrome, and said he tripled the size of the medical team involved in the probe.

First discovered in Cuba in 2016-17, the US and Canadian diplomats have complained of symptoms ranging from dizziness, loss of balance, hearing loss, and anxiety to something they described as "cognitive fog".

In the year 2019, a US academic study found "brain abnormalities" in the diplomats who had fallen ill. However, Cuba dismissed the report.

Also, the US accused Cuba of carrying out "sonic attacks", which is strongly denied.

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