Home / Science / Health /  Havana syndrome delays Kamala Harris' trip to Vietnam; What's this mysterious illness?

A mysterious illness dubbed "Havana Syndrome" has brought severe headaches, nausea, and possible brain damage to US diplomats.

Moreover, yesterday, US Vice President Kamala Harris delayed for several hours a trip to Vietnam after the US embassy in Hanoi reported a possible case involving "acoustic incidents" there, raising concern she could be a target.

It was the most recent of dozens of such cases reported by US diplomats and intelligence officers since 2016, first in Cuba, then in China, Germany, Australia, Taiwan, and in Washington itself.

Havana Syndrome symptoms

US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the State Department employees working at the American embassy in the Cuban capital in late 2016 were the first to describe the symptoms of the unexplained illness.

They described hearing harsh mechanical sounds and/or experiencing uncomfortable pressure, as the sensation of driving fast in a car with one window partially down. Some sufferers have said that when the symptoms first emerged, it felt like they were being hit with a beam of energy. Other problems like vision-related, hearing-related, and poor concentration have also been reported.

In some cases, the diplomats faced pain and issues just in one location, like, feeling nauseous in a hotel room but nowhere else.

What could be the cause of Havana syndrome?

The cause of Havana syndrome remains unknown but experts believe it could be caused by either accidental or deliberate exposure to a toxic chemical or other agents.

The most likely cause of Havana syndrome is assumed to be some type of mechanical device that emits ultrasonic or microwave energy.

How is Havana syndrome treated?

It can be treated by doing meditation, breathing exercises, or acupunctures.

What the US has to say about Havana Syndrome

CIA Director William Burns has called the syndrome an “intentional act".

"I'm certainly persuaded that what our officers and some family members, as well as other US government employees, have experienced is real, and it's serious," the CIA director said.

Meanwhile, the US is investigating possible new cases of Havana syndrome.

A task force was also formulated to investigate Havana syndrome.

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