US refines tool to assess Havana syndrome cases

Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA officer who began to experience symptoms of Havana Syndrome in Moscow in 2017, said government agencie...


Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA officer who began to experience symptoms of Havana Syndrome in Moscow in 2017, said government agencies that screen people with symptoms – including the Department of Defense, the State Department and the CIA – needed a consistent method of doing it. The tool, he said, could also help focus investigative efforts on cases most likely related to Havana Syndrome.

“You have to move from a piecemeal approach to a whole-of-government approach,” he said. “They needed to consolidate all the reporting mechanisms of the different agencies.”

Early last year, the Biden administration and the CIA launched an intense search for what could be causing the injuries. So far, this effort has not revealed any evidence pointing to a source. But some administration officials insist the injuries are real and they will continue to search for a cause.

The Biden administration has until April to draft rules for awarding compensation; the State Department and the CIA are working on separate sets of rules. Once they are completed, the law requires the administration to notify Congress. A State Department official said the screening tool was essential for assessing people with symptoms, but was not a diagnostic tool. As a result, the official said, it cannot be used to determine compensation.

Although the law aims to compensate patients for injuries related to Havana Syndrome, it also provides assistance for a variety of injuries related to government services. Under the law, a CIA officer who suffered a brain injury while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan could claim additional compensation.

Intelligence agencies did not use the filter tool to categorize incident reports. Still, government officials and medical providers said the tool helps them learn more about the symptoms associated with Havana Syndrome and the injuries people experience. It helped people get care, officials said, even though they did not qualify for a Havana syndrome case.

Dr Pablo A. Celnik, director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the program he oversees has treated a few dozen patients who have been referred to hospital after being seen by the sorting tool. So far, he said, only a few have ended up with diagnostic illnesses.

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Newsrust - US Top News: US refines tool to assess Havana syndrome cases
US refines tool to assess Havana syndrome cases
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