Canada’s government on Thursday reportedly confirmed at least one of its diplomats in Cuba has been treated for hearing loss.
U.S. officials believe a group of American diplomats in Havana suffered similar health issues after being exposed to a covert sonic device.
“[Agency officials] are aware of unusual symptoms affecting Canadian and U.S. diplomatic personnel and their families in Havana,” Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Brianne Maxwell said Thursday.
“The government is actively working – including with U.S. and Cuban authorities – to ascertain the cause.”
Some Twitter users on Thursday voiced shock at reports diplomats to Cuba had experienced hearing loss under unusual circumstances there.
A series of U.S. diplomats in Cuba began having unexplained losses of hearing in fall 2016, according to officials knowledgeable of the prove into the incidents.
Several of the diplomats were recent arrivals at the U.S. embassy in Cuba, which is a country that has had often strained relationships with America during the last several decades.
The State Department said Thursday that the U.S. government expelled two Cuban diplomats in May, according to the Washington Post.
A small number of Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Havana reportedly started experiencing unexplained physical ailments.
State officials told the Post Thursday that a few Americans began reporting symptoms last year, with a few removed for medical treatment in the U.S. or asked to leave the Embassy in Cuba.
Spokeswoman Heather Nauert did not directly blame Cuba’s government for the unusual circumstances.
“We don’t have any definitive answers about the source or the cause,” she said before characterizing the symptoms as non-life-threatening.
Nauert added, however, that “incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms” partially inspired the ejection of the two Cuban diplomats.
State would not give further details about either the type of symptoms experienced or the precise number of Americans who left Cuba after suffering them.
Cuba, a communist nation, has long had tense diplomatic ties with the U.S., its capitalist counterpart and neighbor.
Former President Barack Obama initiated a diplomatic thaw with Cuba in 2014, leading to a full-fledged U.S. embassy in the island nation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.