what’s Havana Syndrome? Symptoms, causes?


what’s Havana Syndrome? Symptoms, causes?

In: Biology


It’s a cluster of health problems affecting a small number of American and Canadian diplomats, originally ones based in Havana but now several other places too, including China, Germany and even an official based in the White House. These people have reported symptoms including nausea, hearing loss and memory loss, and some medical tests have apparently found signs of brain injury, but this is disputed.

The US government has suggested that the symptoms may have been caused by unknown sonic or microwave weapons deployed by the Cuban government or other governments it regards as enemies. Other people have suggested more mundane causes, such as psychological factors, exposure to certain pesticides or other harmful chemicals, or a coincidental cluster of unrelated medical problems that happen to have similar symptoms. Possibly it’s a mixture of several of these. Certainly once there is a widespread belief that diplomats are being targeted by mystery weapons that cause brain injury, it shouldn’t be surprising if some diplomats develop psychosomatic health problems.

Short answer is we don’t know.

Basically, staff at the US embassy in Havana started experiencing health problems in the mid 2010’s, and it was severe and common enough that the Government started to suspect “something was going on” and it wasn’t just a bunch of random people getting randomly sick.

The symptoms are various, but things like disorientation, hearing loss, heart problems, etc. So they are broad enough that it’s not something obvious.

There have been reports of similar symptoms in multiple nations now, so it’s not just a one time event.

So, yes, it’s entirely plausible that *nothing* is happening. But based on what’s been made public, it’s also entirely plausible that *someone* is using a new type of non-lethal weapon on embassy personnel. The theories include things like pulses of sound beyond human hearing levels, exposure to unknown chemicals or toxins, or just plain old mass hysteria.


Only anecdotal evidence has been put forward and nothing has been substantiated. So in other words, it’s a theory