Havana Syndrome: Mystery Illness Afflicting American Spies Reported In India

New Delhi: After afflicting American spies and diplomats in Russia, China, Austria and several other countries, the first case of Havana Syndrome, a mysterious illness, has been reported in India.

The matter came to light after a CIA official reported symptoms similar to the mysterious illness during his visit to New Delhi earlier this month.

The officer was part of CIA Director William Burns’ delegation and had to receive medical aid during his stay in India, according to reports in US media.

Last month, US Vice-President Kamala Harris had to postpone her visit to Vietnam after when several US personnel reported symptoms of Havana Syndrome just ahead of her trip.


Havana Syndrome was first reported in Cuba in late 2016. US diplomats and officials stationed in the Cuban capital of Havana fell ill after hearing strange sounds and experiencing odd physical sensations in their hotel rooms.

The symptoms included nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, and hearing loss.

Since then, US diplomats and spies in several countries have reported symptoms.


Five years since being first reported, doctors and scientists are yet to ascertain what causes Havana Syndrome.

While a section of theorists have blamed it on psychological illness, another section has blamed it on some sort of sonic weapon.

Another set of investigators has dismissed the syndrome, saying the stressful environment of foreign missions was behind US diplomats experiencing such symptoms.

Microwave Weapon!

A study by the National Academies of Sciences, US last year concluded that “directed pulsed radio frequency energy appears to be the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases”.

Without blaming any country, the study noted that “significant research” had been conducted on microwave weapons in Russia. Moscow, however, has denied any role in the “attacks”.

Microwave weapons are a type of direct energy weapon, which aim highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser or microwaves at a target.

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