What are the clinical presenting symptoms of diplomatic personnel residing in Havana during the acute time period in autumn 2016?
Immediately after exposure, the majority of affected individuals reported intense ear pain in one or both ears and experienced tinnitus. All of the individuals noticed unsteadiness and features of cognitive impairment, and formal testing revealed that all individuals had an otolithic abnormality and evidence of cognitive dysfunction.
Explore this issue:January 2019
Background: Beginning in late 2016 and continuing into 2017, a number of diplomats and family members stationed in Havana, Cuba, began to report sudden onset dizziness, ear pain, and tinnitus. Most of those affected reported hearing an unexplained noise before the symptoms began that was loud, high frequency, very localized, and capable of following them throughout a room. Several reported that if they went outside their front door, the noise immediately stopped, while others reported a sensation of pressure passing through their head and abdomen in certain parts of the room that could be relieved by moving a few feet away.
Study design: Review of 25 symptomatic individuals who reported a localized sensation of noise/pressure and 10 asymptomatic individuals who did not experience the sound/pressure.