What is ‘Havana Syndrome’? the 'mystery health incident' plaguing diplomats
New Delhi, Aug 26: US Vice-President Kamala Harris's flight to Vietnam was delayed by several hours due to 'mystery health incident' took place in Hanoi.
The word 'mystery health incident' was used to describe the so-called "Havana syndrome" that is plaguing the Western diplomats.
Diplomats, embassy staff from America, Canada and other Western countries have experienced a strange symptoms, prompting a series of government and scientific probe into what some officials have called it as attacks.
What is Havana Syndrome?
The Havana Syndrome is the name for a rash of mysterious health incidents first reported by American diplomats and other government employees in the Cuba capital beginning in 2016.
Sufferers reported hearing a loud piercing sound and feeling intense pressure in the face. Pain, nausea, dizziness, loss of balance, intense head pressure, and vision problems.
Similar symptoms have been reported by Americans serving in other countries, including Germany, Austria, Russia and China.
As per US's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns, over 200 US officials have fallen ill with the Havana Syndrome.
What causes Havana syndrome?
A variety of theories have been floated to explain the incidents, including targeted microwaves or sonic attack, perhaps as part of an espionage or hacking effort.
Particularly alarming are revelations of at least two possible incidents in the Washington area, including one case near the White House in November in which an official reported dizziness. Administration officials have speculated that Russia may be involved, a suggestion Moscow has denied.
But scientists and government officials aren't yet certain about who might have been behind any attacks, if the symptoms could have been caused inadvertently by surveillance equipment - or if the incidents were actually attacks.
For now, the administration is providing assurances that it takes the matter seriously, is investigating aggressively and will make sure those affected have good medical care.
Probe into Havana syndrome
Congress has raised alarms over such attacks, finding rare bipartisan support in House and Senate for continued government-wide investigation into the syndrome, response as well as millions in support for American personnel medical monitoring and treatment.
The Biden administration is facing new pressure to resolve the mystery as the number of reported cases of possible attack has sharply grown. But scientists and government officials aren't yet certain about who might have been behind any attacks, if the symptoms could have been caused inadvertently by surveillance equipment - or if the incidents were actually attacks.
Whatever an official review concludes could have enormous consequences. Confirmation that a U.S. adversary has been conducting damaging attacks against U.S. personnel would unleash calls for a forceful response by the United States.