Pesticides may be involved in "Havana Syndrome"

About fifty American and Canadian diplomats stationed in Cuba had suffered a series of mysterious evils. A new study seems to bring new elements of answer.

Time to Reading 2 min.

The United States Embassy in Cuba, located in Havana, in December 2014. YAMIL LAGE / AFP

After the hypotheses of acoustic attacks then of crickets which mate loudly, the thesis of a pesticide will be able to impose itself? According to a new study by the state-owned Radio-Canada, low-dose exposure to neurotoxins used for mosquito fumigation may have caused the mysterious symptoms of American and Canadian diplomats in recent years. Havana.

Read also Mysterious symptoms in Cuba: Canada repatriates half of its diplomatic staff

Between the end of 2016 and 2018, some fifty American and Canadian diplomats, as well as members of their families, suffered from various ailments manifested in particular by severe migraines, tinnitus, visual and cognitive disorders or problems of balance and vertigo.

Ottawa and Washington have never publicly established the nature of the phenomenon designated as "Havana syndrome", nor confirmed that it could be enigmatic "Acoustic attacks" or microwave, as the American press has echoed, but without providing any evidence. Cuba rejects all responsibility.

Last January, two scientists had advanced the thesis of sounds from the song of the short-tailed cricket, present in the Caribbean, whose rate of flapping wings is among the highest of the species.

"Direct link" between symptoms and a fumigation campaign

At the request of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, a team from the Dalhousie Brain Injury Center conducted a clinical study of the 15 Canadian victims, presented as "The most advanced" to this day by Radio-Canada's "Enquête" program. In his study, the multidisciplinary team of 26 researchers led by neurologist Alon Friedman advance "The hypothesis of low-dose exposure to neurotoxins".

The results of the examinations, according to the study, "Strongly suggest" intoxication with organophosphates, molecules used in the fumigation of mosquitoes. According to Radio-Canada, Alon Friedman has established a " direct link " between the appearance of the first symptoms, in 2016 and 2017, and the launch at that time by the Cuban government of"A vast fumigation campaign against the Zika virus all over the island, and in particular in Havana". Embassies had also carried out their fumigation operations.

"These two sources combined have certainly exposed the diplomats excessively", concludes the Dr Friedman. The diplomats tested showed traces of these contaminants in their blood, sometimes several months after exposure. This study, the hypotheses of which will have to be verified, undermines hypothetical "Acoustic attacks"said Radio-Canada.

"No definitive cause of health incidents has yet been determined", however, tempered a spokesman for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ensuring all tracks, "Which includes research at Dalhousie University".


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here