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Private Citizens Say They Have Health Symptoms After Visiting Cuba

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HAVANA, CUBA (CBSMiami) -- Private citizens are complaining they experienced symptoms similar to those suffered by U.S. diplomats targeted in sonic attacks in Havana, Cuba.

According to CBS News, at least 22 U.S. diplomats experienced symptoms in their homes and hotels prompting the State Department to issue a travel warning.

"Since we issued the September 29 Travel Warning, we have received a handful of reports from U.S. citizens who say they experienced similar symptoms following stays in Cuba," a State Department official told CBS News.

The symptoms span from headaches to concussions.

"Most of them if not all of them have been seriously hurt by this - symptoms including hearing loss, nausea, constant headaches, cognitive issues, including forgetting common words and phrases. We know some of them have concussions and now we're learning about eye issues from some of these victims," said CBS News's Steve Dorsey said.

Despite that, the department says they have no way of verifying whether they were harmed by the same attacks that targeted diplomats.

Nearly a year after the attacks, U.S. investigators, from several agencies including the FBI and CIA, are still not any closer to finding the source or methods, according to officials close to the investigation.

Investigators are trying to find out whether the attacks were caused by something more than a sonic device since some U.S. officials said they heard loud, bizarre and unexplained noises in homes and hotels.

Medical records show some Americans suffered mild traumatic brain injuries, cognitive issues and hearing loss among other health issues.

Of the victims, some were connected to the U.S. intelligence community, sources told CBS News.

As for who may have done it, Dorsey said,

"We've heard a number of different theories and we know U.S. investigators have been testing all of them including how directly Cuba may have been involved despite its denials. We also know the U.S. is looking into whether some kind of rogue element of the Cuban regime, perhaps a splinter from the massive Cuban intelligence apparatus could have been behind this. Finally, there is also the possibility that a third country. Perhaps a U.S. adversary like Russia could have been involved to drive a wedge for what were warming relations between the U.S. and Cuba."

Some of the victims reportedly were being treated in South Florida but have since been relocated to the northeast and are no longer being treated by the University of Miami.

"Apparently, the State Dept. and some of these victims were upset with the treatment by the University of Miami and specifically one doctor there," said Dorsey.

Due to the attacks, the U.S. ordered most of its personnel in Cuba to leave the island and expelled a proportional number from its embassy in Washington, D.C.

The embassy in Havana will now only provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the island nation. Those who need assistance should call the Embassy by at +(53)(7) 839-4100 or the Department of State at 1-202-501-4444. U.S. citizens are asked to not go to the embassy.


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