US diplomats in Geneva and Paris allegedly hit by ‘Havana Syndrome’

The Wall Street Journal said at least three Americans serving at the US consulate in Geneva were suspected to have been afflicted by the syndrome last summer. © Keystone / Leandre Duggan

Several American diplomats in Geneva and Paris were reportedly struck with suspected “Havana Syndrome” last year – a mysterious ailment that has affected up to 200 US officials in diplomatic posts worldwide.

This content was published on January 14, 2022 minutes

The Wall Street Journal reported on ThursdayExternal link that at least three Americans serving at the US consulate in Geneva were suspected to have been afflicted by the syndrome last summer, which the Biden administration has dubbed an “anomalous health incident”. 

“At least one of those officials was medevaced [evacuated by air] from Switzerland to the US for treatment,” it wrote.

In Paris, senior embassy officials informed diplomats via email about a suspected case, the officials said.

The paper said the suspected attacks were reported internally last summer to officials in the two cities and eventually to the State Department in Washington.

When questioned about the revelations on Thursday by the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA, a spokesperson for the US State Department declined to comment, citing security reasons.

The Swiss Federal Intelligence Service confirmed to Keystone-SDA on Friday that it is aware of cases Havana Syndrome among several US diplomats in Geneva. But it refused to comment further. The Swiss foreign ministry is also in contact with the US embassy about the affair, it stated.

Migraines, nausea and dizziness

The mysterious ailment has symptoms including migraines, nausea, memory lapses and dizziness. It was first reported among US officials in the Cuban capital in 2016.

"To date, we don't know exactly what's happened and we don't know exactly who is responsible," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday.

Blinken said the federal government was continuing to investigate the illness which has afflicted about 200 US diplomats, officials and family members worldwide.

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