According to US media, US officials are investigating probable occurrences of Havana syndrome illness in Colombia, just days before the Secretary of State’s arrival.
The unexplained sickness, which produces a terrible ringing in the ears, exhaustion, and dizziness, may have affected US embassy workers in Bogota.
The sickness was first identified in Cuba in 2016 and has since been reported by US diplomats all across the world.
Its origins are unknown, while some believe it is a weapon.
The Wall Street Journal initially revealed on Tuesday that emails received by US Ambassador to Colombia Philip Goldberg since mid-September confirmed a number of “unexplained health events,” or UHIs, as the US government refers to Havana syndrome.
The reports are being investigated by Colombian President Iván Duque, according to the New York Times. He also stated that the investigation is being led by the United States.
Americans who have been affected by Havana syndrome have reported hearing a loud, excruciating ringing in their ears.
For months, some of the estimated 200 people affected have suffered from dizziness and exhaustion.
According to the New York Times, more over half of those affected were CIA workers.
The US embassy in Berlin received reports of Havana syndrome on Friday. President Joe Biden issued a statement committing to discover “the reason and who is to blame.”
It happened just hours after Obama signed a new rule allowing the heads of the CIA and State Department to compensate US federal personnel who have been affected by the illness financially.
On Tuesday, a State Department spokesperson declined to confirm the reports to BBC News.
“We are intensively examining complaints of AHIs wherever they are reported,” the official said in a statement, adding that they are “actively seeking to uncover the cause of these instances and whether they can be traced to a foreign actor.”
The news comes only days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Bogota next Monday.
Vice President Kamala Harris postponed her trip to Vietnam in August after two US officials were medically evacuated after becoming unwell.