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Source of health problems affecting 8 Canadians in Cuba still a mystery


Eight Canadians posted to Cuba have experienced mysterious symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and nose bleeds in recent months, but Global Affairs officials say they are still at a loss to explain what is causing them.

The most recent incident affecting Canadian diplomats and members of their families took place in December. The person affected said they suddenly felt a wave of pressure. Symptoms reported by others have included headaches, dizziness, nose bleeds and loss of balance.

While one person affected continues to experience headaches, Canadian officials said Wednesday there is no indication following medical testing that anyone has experienced permanent damage.

Officials told reporters during a background briefing in Ottawa Wednesday they are in uncharted territory and have never seen anything like it anywhere else in the world. At this point, they said they haven’t ruled out anything, including foul play.

The mysterious ailments, worthy of a spy thriller, appear to only be hitting Canadian and American diplomats posted to Havana, Cuba.

U.S. media reported last year that U.S. authorities were investigating the possibility the diplomats and their families had been targeted by some kind of “sonic attack.” However, The Associated Press on Monday cited a new FBI report that said the U.S. has found no evidence sonic waves were used.

U.S. officials told a congressional hearing Tuesday they are still working on several theories — including the possibility a virus was used.

Canadian officials said there have been no reports of similar symptoms among staff of other embassies or among Cubans. Nor have there been any reports of unusual symptoms among the thousands of Canadian tourists who visit Cuba every year.



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