Some officials who reported symptoms in Colombia had to be evacuated from the country, including a family with a minor, the sources said. A few of those affected have previously reported incidents of the mysterious disease when based in other countries, a source said.
The incidents, which are now among hundreds the United States is investigating, come as Secretary of State Tony Blinken plans to visit Bogota next week. State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to comment on reported incidents in Colombia or Blinken’s upcoming trip during the department’s briefing on Tuesday.
International travel by senior officials in the Biden administration has been affected by reported incidents of Havana Syndrome on two occasions in recent months.
The State Department is now alerting U.S. officials to reported cases when they occur in the missions they serve. But the department does not release basic information such as the number of people affected and the locations of the incidents – data the State Department used to publicly release during briefings on the incidents in Cuba and China. .
US investigators struggled to determine what or who is causing the symptoms and how exactly they do it. Incidents of Havana Syndrome began in Cuba in late 2016 and since then, cases have been reported in Russia, China, Austria and other countries around the world. The Biden administration continues to investigate the case.
“I was delighted to sign the HAVANA Act to ensure that we are doing everything possible to provide for the needs of U.S. government personnel who have suffered from abnormal health incidents,” Biden said in a statement which included qualifying episodes of “incidents” rather than “attacks,” as the main lawmakers of the Senate Intelligence Committee have done.
“Resolving these incidents has been a top priority for my administration,” he said after the closed-door signing on Friday.