What is ‘Havana Syndrome’?

Havana Syndrome us a mysterious neurological illness. It has started to afflict the American diplomats and intelligence operatives in Cuba, China, and other countries. The illness is caused possibly by “directed” microwave radiation as per a report by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS).


  • The study by the State Department does not mention that the “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy” as a cause.
  • Russia has also denied the role of microwave weapons in the illness.
  • Some of the symptoms of the illness include nausea, fatigue, cognitive difficulties and dizziness.

Microwave weapons

These are a type of direct energy weapons. The weapon aim focused sonic, laser, or microwaves energy at a target. People who are exposed to high-intensity microwave pulses reports a clicking or buzzing sound in the head. The weapon can have both acute and long-term effects. It does not show any sign of physical damage.

Havana syndrome

The Havana Syndrome corresponds to the Illness of US diplomats and other employees in Havana. They started feeling ill in the year 2016 after hearing strange sounds.  They were also experiencing odd physical sensations.  Since  then, the illness is known as “Havana Syndrome”.

NAS report on ‘Havana syndrome’

  • NAS has presented its report called “An assessment of illness in US government employees and their families at overseas embassies”.
  • The report was presented by a committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields.
  • They examined four possibilities namely, infection, chemicals, psychological factors and microwave energy to explain the causes.
  • The report further highlighted that the “directed pulsed RF energy is the most plausible mechanism that explains the cases among people that the committee considered”.


The report was limited in nature as it only focused on the events surrounding the US embassy in Havana. Further, the  information provided by China was “too sparse and fragmentary that created hurdles in coming up with any conclusion.

Current Affairs