Is Havana syndrome contagious? Where is it affecting?

After a member of Vice President Kamala Harris’ employees suffered from an “hostile well being occasion,” the VP’s journey to Hanoi, Vietnam, was nearly canceled.

Thought to have suffered from “Havana Syndrome” in Singapore, the case represents one of many highest-profile since stories first got here out in 2016.

The State Department has not confirmed that the title of the employees member that fell unwell however did affirm that this was not the primary case of the weird well being problem seen in Singapore.

Havana Syndrome represents a brand new problem within the relationship between Cold War foes, the United States and Cuba. After 5 years, no nation or entity has been publicly named the accountable perpetrator, and the instances appear to be rising.

What different international locations have reported instances?

In 2016 and 2017, intelligence officers and diplomats from the US and Canadian embassies in Havana started reporting signs, which later turned categorized as Havana syndrome. These two international locations started to withdraw employees within the nation and demanded solutions from the Cuban government.

Reports of comparable points have been reported by 130 CIA personnel, diplomats, and US army members.

After the incidents seen in Cuba, instances have been seen in Russia, Poland, Georgia, Taiwan, Australia, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Austria, and lots of different international locations.

In October 2020, stories of botched investigations on the a part of the State Department turned public. The New York Times reported that the group, below the management of Secretary Mike Pompeo, had “produced inconsistent assessments of sufferers and occasions, ignored outdoors medical diagnoses and withheld fundamental info from Congress.”

In addition, stories have proven {that a} lack of inter-agency cooperation between varied US authorities companies, together with the FBI, CIA, CDC, and State Department, has created challenges in investigating its origins. Also, the NYT has reported that relying on the place the cases befell, the Federal government-repossessed otherwise.

Following these stories, embassy employees in China reported related points. For these in Cuba, diplomats have been supported in looking for remedy, however these in international locations like China have been used their very own private trip and day off to get better. However, the United States didn’t take the identical strategy after instances have been seen in China. No investigation was opened, and the State Department opted to name the instances “well being incidents” slightly than Havana syndrome. The New York Times additionally reported that this might have been achieved in an try to anger the Chinese authorities.

What are the signs, and the way does it have an effect on the physique?

The symptoms are just like these of a concussion or delicate head damage and might embrace dizziness, ache, and nausea. The round 130 individuals who have reported signs have additionally reported reminiscence points, sensitivity to gentle, insomnia, and different sleep-related points.

A 2019 examine carried out by the University of Pennsylvania discovered that the brains of these had been altered, together with “variations in whole-brain white matter quantity, regional grey and white matter quantity, cerebellar microstructural integrity, and useful connectivity within the auditory and visuospatial subnetworks.” These findings have been discovered after these thought to have Havana Syndrome had scans of their brains in comparison with a management group.


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