US investigates second suspected case of mystery 'syndrome' near White House

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Washington DC [US], May 18 (ANI): The United States has ramped up its efforts to identify the cause of "anomalous health incidents" as two White House officials were struck by a mysterious illness late last year.

According to CNN, under pressure from lawmakers and victims, the Biden administration has dramatically ramped up its efforts to "identify the cause of these incidents, determine attribution, increase collection efforts, and prevent" what the intelligence community now terms "anomalous health incidents," a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement on Tuesday.

The episodes affected two officials on the National Security Council in November 2020, one the day after the presidential election and one several weeks later. The cases are consistent with an inexplicable constellation of sensory experiences and physical symptoms that have sickened more than 100 US diplomats, spies, and troops around the globe and have come to be known as "Havana Syndrome", as per the information given by multiple sources to CNN.

As per previous reports, the first incident occurred after the 2020 election as the NSC official was attempting to pass through an unstaffed gate near the Ellipse, according to a source with direct knowledge of the incident. That person suffered only mild symptoms after the encounter, including headaches and sleeplessness, all of which went away after a week.

The second official, whose case has not been previously reported, struck weeks later near an entrance to the White House grounds, two sources familiar with the matter said. The second official suffered more serious symptoms and was ill enough to seek immediate medical treatment, the sources said.

CIA Director Bill Burns has begun to receive daily briefings on the matter, including some from victims of these strange encounters, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

But even a definitive diagnosis proving any one case is, in fact, "Havana Syndrome," has proven frustratingly difficult, officials say. Victims suffer a myriad of different symptoms both initially and over time, and scientists, engineers and medical experts are divided over whether all of the cases under investigation can be attributed to a single cause.

The government has successfully identified and fielded a blood test that can point to some markers that may indicate exposure, according to two US officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

The number of suspected cases worldwide is increasing, according to a recent statement from the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee. There have been more than 130 cases worldwide over the past five years, according to the New York Times, which reported at least one episode taking place overseas in the last two weeks. (ANI)