US Diplomats are Falling Ill in Austria

Vienna's diplomatic community sees rash of 'Havana syndrome'-like mystery illness
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 18, 2021 8:30 AM CDT
Mystery Illness Plagues Another US Embassy
Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Biden administration is investigating multiple incidents of US diplomats in Austria suffering from a mystery illness not unlike what struck their counterparts in Cuba years earlier. Twenty officials in Vienna have reported symptoms since the president took office this year, the New Yorker first reported Friday. Per BBC, the brain condition has been reported elsewhere in the world, but the number of afflicted in Vienna--an historic hotspot for espionage--is higher than anywhere outside Havana. The problem has been labeled the “Havana Syndrome,” because the first cases affected personnel in 2016 at the US Embassy there, per the AP. US officials at the time accused Cuba of carrying out "sonic attacks." In May, officials said at least 130 cases across the government were under investigation, up from several dozen last year.

People who are believed to have been affected have reported headaches, dizziness and symptoms consistent with concussions, with some requiring months of medical treatment. Some have reported hearing a loud noise before the sudden onset of symptoms. Some believe the unexplained injuries, which include brain damage, are the result of attacks with microwave or radio wave weapons. However, despite years of study there is no consensus as to what or who might be behind the incidents or whether they are, in fact, attacks. 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.
(More Havana syndrome stories.)

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