Havana Syndrome: Mysterious Illness Hits At Least Five US Families Connected to Embassy in Colombia

Members of least five families linked to the U.S. Embassy in Colombia have reported symptoms consistent with "Havana syndrome" just days before Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to the Colombian capital Bogotá this month.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing emails sent by U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Philip Goldberg and other officials to embassy personnel, that the embassy in Colombia is investigating a number of potential cases of the illness.

One of the Family Members Affected is a Minor

Concerns about the mystery illness that causes headaches, nausea, dizziness and other issues amplified after a family was recently evacuated from Colombia for medical care, the Journal reported.

"There was definitely a family, including a minor hit," a source told the outlet.

"Adults sign up for what they sign up for and the risks that come with it... Targeting or even incidentally hitting kids should be a hard line."

What is Havana Syndrome

In one email sent in mid-September, embassy personnel were informed of "an unexplained health incident," according to the Journal, which reviewed the messages.

A later email, dated Oct. 1, informed embassy personnel that the regional security office was investigating "additional Anomalous Health Incidents," the U.S. government's term for the illness. The email added that "there is no stigma to reporting any health-related incident in which the underlying causes are not known."

One U.S. official told the newspaper that at least two cases are known, both of whom are American citizens, but it is believed that others were affected.

The source also said at least one family was transported out of the country through air travel to receive treatment, adding that in recent days concerns have become "more serious."

Blinken is Expected to Visit Bogotá Next Week

The American Embassy in Bogotá is among the U.S.'s largest in the world, with robust intelligence and antidrug operations working to thwart cocaine trafficking operations in the region, reported Fox News.

Blinken is slated to meet with Colombia Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez on October 20 in Bogota.

Anthony Blinken
Anthony Blinken YouTube Grab

The State Department, in the emails uncovered by the Journal, said it would respond to the situation "seriously, with objectivity and with sensitivity" as it works to find out who has been affected by the mysterious illness.

President Iván Duque of Colombia said his country was aware of the reports. In an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, Duque said while the U.S. was taking the lead, Colombia's intelligence service was also investigating.

Latest in a String of Such Incidents

There have been 200 reported cases of the yet-unexplained illness at US embassies and government buildings around the globe. Recently, a CIA officer was evacuated from Serbia after suffering from the unexplained neurological attack.

Vice President Kamala Harris' departure for Vietnam was delayed by several hours after her office was informed of an anomalous health incident similar to that of the Havana syndrome.