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Centre to Look Into 'Havana Syndrome': What Is It? What Are the Symptoms?

The first Havana Syndrome case in India was reported in 2021, when a US officer experienced symptoms.

2 min read
Centre to Look Into 'Havana Syndrome': What Is It? What Are the Symptoms?
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The Centre has told the Karnataka High Court (HC) that it will look into 'Havana Syndrome', in response to a writ petition. The government is expected to submit its response in three months.

The first case of Havana Syndrome in India was reported in 2021, when a US intelligence officer travelling to the country with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reportedly experienced its symptoms.

What is Havana Syndrome? What does research say about symptoms? Here's all you need to know.


What is the Havana Syndrome? 

It is a mental condition which is being reported primarily by the US diplomats across the world. It is characterised by disorientation, hearing sounds and noises, memory loss, balance issues, and headaches. 

It is being compared by the US to the Frey Effect – which was essentially an observation which was made by Allan H. Frey in 1962 by intentionally passing low-power radio frequency electromagnetic energy.

It causes people to hear noises, dizziness and nausea – the symptoms of which are very similar to the Havana Syndrome.


What's the history?

The first case of Havana Syndrome was reported in Cuba's Havana in 2016.

It has since then been reported by at least 200 US government officials and military personnel serving at various stations across the world.

The cases have since then spread to US diplomats, agents, etc. travelling to different parts of the world such as Australia, Colombia, Austria, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Uzbekistan, Poland, and Taiwan, among others.


What are the causes? 

Till date there is no specific cause to which the symptoms can be attributed to the Havana Syndrome.

Earlier the causes were suspected to be the Zika Virus or tropical crickets.

A study in 2020,  by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine attributed the syndrome to Direct Radio Frequency Energy.

In February 2022, the cause for the Havana Syndrome was suspected to be pulsed electromagnetic energy.

There are ongoing debates as to what kind of a device is being used for the emanation of such microwaves, and whether or not it is weaponry in nature or not.

Apart from the US, personnel of no countries have reported any cases of the syndrome.


What Symptoms are being reported?

  • Dizziness

  • Vertigo 

  • Balance issues

  • Memory loss

  • Headaches 

  • Hearing sounds and noises 

  • Disorientation 

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Topics:   United States   Mental Health 

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