Even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, US diplomats in Austria have recently reported symptoms similar to the mysterious brain illness known as 'Havana Syndrome'. According to reports, more than 20 officials have reported the symptoms since the beginning of the year. Reportedly the US and Austria is now investigating the reports.
First found in Cuba a few years ago, the syndrome has since made a reappearance in a few other countries including the US. The causes remain unknown, with then President Donald Trump going as far as to accused Cuba of perpetrating unspecified attacks causing the symptoms in 2017. US researchers suspect that it may be caused by directed microwave radiation.
Victims have reported a wide array of symptoms ranging from dizziness, loss of balance, hearing loss and anxiety to something dubbed as "cognitive fog". Reportedly, some were able to shake off the symptoms by physically moving their bodies elsewhere. Others who were afflicted by Havana Syndrome were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries and continue to suffer years later.
According to a CNN report that quotes Austrian and US officials, both countries are investigating the reports from Vienna. "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," an US State Department spokesperson was quoted as saying last week.
While cases have been reported from different locations in the last few years, US officials say that the Vienna cluster is the largest in any city apart from Havana. In June, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had announced a wide-ranging review into the causes of Havana Syndrome.