Havana Syndrome

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Recently, the Central government has told the Karnataka High Court that it will look into the matter of the ‘Havana Syndrome’ in India, in response to a Bengaluru resident’s recent petition.

About Havana Syndrome


  • It refers to a set of mental health symptoms that are said to be experienced by United States intelligence and embassy officials in various countries.
  • It is worth noting that in general, the word ‘syndrome’ simply means a set of symptoms.
  • It does not mean a mental health symptoms condition, but rather a set of symptoms that are usually experienced together whose origins may be difficult to confirm.
  • Symptoms: Such as hearing certain sounds without any outside noise, nausea, vertigo and headaches, memory loss and balance issues.
  • Origin
    • As the name suggests, it traces its roots to Cuba in late 2016.
    • This was about a year after the US opened its embassy in the capital city of Havana after ties between the two countries were normalised in 2015.
    • Some US intelligence officials and members of the staff at the embassy began experiencing sudden bursts of pressure in their brains followed by persistent headaches, feelings of disorientation and insomnia.
    • In India, the first such case was reported in 2021, when a US intelligence officer travelling to New Delhi with CIA director William Burns reported symptoms of Havana Syndrome.
  • No one is entirely sure about the causes of this syndrome.


Q1) What is a  syndrome?

A syndrome is a collection of signs, symptoms, and characteristics that tend to occur together and often indicate the presence of a particular medical condition or disorder.

Source: Centre to look into ‘Havana Syndrome’: What it means and the term’s history