US investigates spike in health incidents among diplomats in Vienna

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration is investigating a recent wave of mysterious health incidents reported by U.S. diplomats and other government employees in Vienna, Austria, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Some of the symptoms are similar to those first reported by US diplomats and spies in Havana, Cuba, in 2016 and 2017, for which no definitive cause has yet been determined, according to officials, who said that more than 20 new cases were under investigation. by medical teams at the State Department and elsewhere, including the Pentagon and the CIA.

“In coordination with our partners across the US government, we are vigorously investigating reports of possible unexplained health incidents within the US Embassy community in Vienna,” the Department of State. “All employees who reported a possible UHI received immediate and appropriate attention and care. “

Some believe that 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 could be behind the incidents or whether they are, in fact, attacks.

Vienna-based employees have reported suffering from mysterious symptoms since President Joe Biden’s inauguration, officials said. The Vienna cases were first reported on Friday by The New Yorker magazine.

Vienna has been for centuries a center of espionage and diplomacy, and was a hub for underground espionage-against-spy activities during the Cold War. The city is currently the site of indirect talks between Iran and the United States on the rescue of the nuclear deal that was negotiated there in 2015.

Those talks are now on hold and it was not immediately clear whether members of the US negotiating team were among the injured.

The problem has been dubbed “Havana Syndrome” because the first cases affected staff in 2016 at the US Embassy in Cuba. In May, officials said at least 130 cases in the government were under investigation, up from several dozen last year.

People believed to have been affected have reported headaches, dizziness and concussion-like symptoms, some requiring months of medical treatment. Some have reported hearing a loud noise before symptoms suddenly appear.

Particularly alarming are the revelations of at least two possible incidents in the Washington area, including a case near the White House in November in which an official reported dizziness.

Although some are convinced that the injuries are the result of directed energy attacks, others believe that the increasing number of cases could in fact be linked to a “mass psychogenic illness”, in which people learn that others are ill. people with symptoms start to feel sick themselves.

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