US investigates incidents of Havana Syndrome near the White House. What is the mysterious illness?

·2 min read

New information is being revealed about two White House officials struck by a mysterious illness known as Havana Syndrome late last year.

A National Security Council official was trying to walk through an unstaffed gate at the White House when the person began exhibiting symptoms, a source with direct knowledge of the incident told CNN. A few weeks later, another official was near an entrance at the White House when they sought immediate medical attention for more severe symptoms.

The U.S. is investigating the cases, and dozens of other officials across the globe have been stricken by the illness. Symptoms include hearing loss and brain damage, and there is no definite answer on what causes it.

What is Havana Syndrome?

The name "Havana Syndrome" was coined after an illness struck people at the U.S. Embassy in Havana from 2016 to 2017, the BBC reported. Diplomats and staffers reportedly experienced hearing loss, dizziness, loss of balance and other neurological symptoms.

Most of the people who experienced Havana Syndrome had an onset of a perceived loud noise, a sensation of intense pressure or vibration in the head, and pain in the ear or in the head, according to a report by the National Academies of Sciences.

For some, the symptoms subside soon, while others may have chronic symptoms like insomnia and headaches.

Most plausible': Report finds pulsed radiofrequency likely cause of mysterious illness

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What causes it?

Different theories have circulated about what causes the illness. But in a report by the National Academies of Sciences, they researchers concluded that the symptoms were consistent with directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy.

The committee also looked at chemical exposures, infectious diseases and psychological factors as potential culprits but found directed pulsed RF energy as the most plausible explanation.

The report did not say whether the energy was delivered intentionally.

Who has had it?

More than 130 people have had the illness, including spies, diplomats, soldiers and other U.S. officials, The New York Times reported.

Cases have been suspected in Cuba, China, Europe and in the U.S.

What is being done about it?

The attacks near the White House are being investigated by federal agencies, and National Intelligence Director Avril Haines told lawmakers last month that she would work to provide Congress with more information, according to CNBC. '

Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Havana Syndrome, a mysterious illness, appears twice near White House

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