When a mystery illness rippled through the US embassy in Cuba in late 2016, the diplomatic fallout was rapid. The US slashed the number of people at its Havana mission and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats after at least 24 American staff and family reported a mix of headaches, dizziness, eyesight, hearing, sleep and concentration problems.

Many of the affected diplomats said their illness came on after they heard strange noises in their homes or hotel rooms. Some reported that the sounds – which ranged from grinding to cicada-like to the buffeting caused by an open car window – appeared to be directed at them, and that their symptoms abated when they moved to another room.

Now, the dispute over the cause of the episode has spread into the medical world, where some doctors and scientists are furious with a situation they believe is being spun for political gain.



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