healthHealth and Medicine

More US Diplomats Report Mysterious "Havana Syndrome" Symptoms


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockJul 22 2021, 12:27 UTC

Embassy of the US in Havana. Image Credit: Yandry_kw/

Up to 200 US citizens working in embassies, diplomatic missions, and intelligence around the globe have reported the symptoms of the so-called "Havana Syndrome", a peculiar condition first reported by members of the US embassy in the Cuban capital.

The symptoms are strange and include headaches, hearing loss, nausea, anxiety, disorientation, and "cognitive fog". These are sometimes accompanied by a high-pitched noise, but not all the time. There’s also the claim that in some cases you can "step" in and out of symptoms by changing locations.


These claims have suggested that the origin of the syndrome is to be found in some form of device. It has recently been claimed in a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that "directed, pulsed radio frequency energy" could be consistent with what has been reported by these diplomats – although a press release for the study states that "the committee could not rule out other possible mechanisms."

There’s also a study published in JAMA that looked at the brains of 40 US diplomats that showed some differences when compared against healthy controls. In particular, it highlighted "significant differences in whole brain white matter volume, regional gray and white matter volume, cerebellar tissue microstructural integrity, and functional connectivity in the auditory and visuospatial subnetworks compared with controls."

The supposed weapon behind this is believed to cause a microwave auditory effect also known as the Frey effect. The effect shows that the proximity to modulated radio frequencies can cause the perception of audible clicks and even speech. The microwave weapon is believed the most plausible explanation among those considered.


However, there is no evidence, let alone any certainty that such a weapon exists out there. Something that creates the Frey effect would need a lot of juic,e and there’s no evidence of that happening in multiple locations in which this phenomenon has been reported. The latest location is Vienna, the capital of Austria.

"In coordination with our partners across the US Government, we are vigorously investigating reports of possible unexplained health incidents among the US Embassy Vienna community or wherever they are reported," a spokesperson for the US Department said about the incident, as reported by CNN.

NBC News report that almost half of the cases involve CIA officers, 60 involve the Defense Department, and 50 involve the State Department. There is no clear evidence what’s the cause of these cases or who’d be behind it, although the current and previous administrations have hinted at Russia.


Claims of these incidents come from every continent apart from Antarctica. Emperor penguins might not have the right counterintelligence tech.

[h/t: CNN, NBC News]  



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