Potential 'Havana syndrome' symptoms reported in 200 Americans: 5 things to know

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About 200 Americans have reported symptoms potentially linked to "Havana syndrome," a mysterious illness first identified in 2016 among diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, NBC News reported July 19.

Five things to know:

1. People believed to have the condition reported hearing a loud sound and pressure in their heads before experiencing dizziness, unsteady gait and visual disturbances, according to a 2020 report from the National Academies of Sciences. 

2. The report, which examined the symptoms of 40 federal employees, points to pulsed radio frequency energy as the most plausible cause of the brain injuries, though the U.S. is still investigating. The National Academies of Sciences said no similar conditions have been documented in medical literature. 

3. Nearly half of the 200 potential cases involve CIA officers or their relatives, U.S. officials familiar with the matter told NBC News. About 60 cases involve U.S. Defense Department staff or their relatives, and about another 50 cases were linked to the U.S. State Department.

4. The U.S. is working to ensure all affected federal employees have access to specialized care at Military Health System Centers of Excellence, according to NBC News. The Senate also passed a bill in June that would authorize additional financial support for these individuals.

5. The government is considering picking a prominent academic institution as a dedicated center to provide acute and chronic care for affected workers, three people familiar with the matter told NBC News. The U.S. has already tapped the University of Miami and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to help treat government employees.

To read the full report, click here.

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