Communicable and Non-communicable diseases – HIV, Malaria, Cancer, Mental Health, etc.

What is Havana Syndrome?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Havana Syndrome

Mains level: NA

A recent US intelligence report says that ‘Havana Syndrome’ —a collection of symptoms and related brain injuries, reported by some US officials could be caused by pulsed electromagnetic energy or close-range ultrasound.

What is Havana Syndrome?

  • ‘Havana Syndrome’ is a colloquial name given to a set of symptoms such as dizziness, hearing loss, headaches, vertigo, nausea, memory loss and possible brain injuries.
  • It was first reported by 16 American Embassy staff and their family members in Havana, Cuba, in 2016-17.
  • There have been other instances of the phenomenon, which has mostly impacted US officials.

What did the latest investigation find?

  • Such cases have been caused by pulsed electromagnetic energy in the radio frequency.
  • The results of the investigation did not point to who may have been behind the phenomenon, nor commented on their motivations.
  • A partially redacted report summary finds that the symptoms of AHI are “genuine and compelling.”

What can be the other reasons?

  • Psychosocial factors alone do not explain the core characteristics, the report finds, although they may cause other incidents or contribute to long-term effects.
  • These other incidents could occur via hyper-vigilance or reactions to stress especially among individuals who are security-oriented.


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