Mysterious health attacks on the American diplomatic community in Cuba continued as recently as August, the United States said Friday, despite earlier U.S. assessments that the attacks had long stopped. The U.S. increased the tally of U.S. government personnel affected to 19.
The new U.S. disclosures came the same day that the union that represents American diplomats said mild traumatic brain injury was among the diagnoses given to diplomats victimized in the attacks, offering the most detailed account to date of the growing list of symptoms. Permanent hearing loss has also been diagnosed, and the American Foreign Service Association said additional symptoms had included brain swelling, severe headaches, loss of balance and "cognitive disruption."
At the State Department, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. was continually revising its assessments of the scope of the attacks as new information was obtained. She said the investigation had not been completed.
"We can confirm another incident which occurred last month and is now part of the investigation," Nauert said.
U.S. officials had previously said that the attacks, initially believed to be caused by a potential covert sonic device, had started in fall 2016 and continued until spring 2017. Last week, Nauert had said at least 16 Americans associated with the U.S. Embassy in Havana had been affected, but that the "incidents" were no longer occurring.
The revised assessments suggested that U.S. officials were still a long way away from any thorough understanding of what transpired in the unexplained attacks. U.S. investigators have been searching to identify a device that could have harmed the health of the diplomats, believed to have been attacked in their homes in Havana, but officials have said no device had been found.
"We can't rule out new cases as medical professionals continue to evaluate members of the embassy community," Nauert said. She added that the embassy has a medical officer and has been consistently providing medical care to those who have reported incidents.