Canada recalls families of diplomatic staff from Cuba

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The families of Canadian diplomats serving in Cuba have been recalled as some of them are suffering unexplained brain symptoms, the Canada Press has reported.

While there had been no new cases since the second half of a year ago, diplomatic families returning to Canada had continued to report symptoms including dizziness, headaches and inability to concentrate, Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.

Canada has also received information from Canadian and American medical specialists that raised concerns of a possible type of acquired brain injury, the official said, while initial theories of a sonic attack first raised by USA officials a year ago or mass psychosomatic causes are now considered to be improbable.

In the statement, Canadian officials said that while there had been no new cases, health problems have continued among families who left Cuba.

A report by a Canadian medical specialist says that a new type of brain injury may be the cause of a mysterious illness. Three families returned home.

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USA diplomats in Cuba began reporting similar mystery symptoms in 2016 and Washington reportedly began investigating the possibility that they had been targeted by ultrasonic devices. It said 21 embassy employees had been injured.

It said that in some cases the symptoms had appeared to "lessen in intensity, before reasserting themselves".

There are now 15 staff in Havana, and Canada will review whether all the positions are needed, the official said. The United States has not accused Cuba of such action but has said Havana holds responsibility nonetheless, arguing that such incidents could not have occurred on the small, communist-run island without the knowledge of Cuban officials.

The illnesses affected both Canadian and American diplomats and their families.