US says another American suffers illness at its Cuba embassy

WASHINGTON, June 28 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said another person had been affected by health problems at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, bringing to 26 the number of Americans who have suffered mysterious maladies in that country.

The latest case and another confirmed on June 21 were found to involve health effects similar to those reported by other members of the U.S. Havana diplomatic community and were the first since August 2017, the department said in a statement.

U.S. experts have yet to determine who or what was behind the mysterious illnesses, which began in late 2016. Cuban officials, who are conducting their own investigation, have denied any involvement or any knowledge of what was behind it.

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People walk past the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A tour bus of Transgaviota drives past the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba June 13, 2017. Picture taken June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer
An exterior view of the U.S. Embassy is seen in Havana, Cuba, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
People wait in line to enter the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, April 20, 2017. Picture taken April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
People wait to enter the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, April 20, 2017. Picture taken April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A vintage car passes by in front of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Cuban flags fly near U.S flag beside the U.S embassy in Havana December 31, 2015. REUTERS/Enrique de la Osa
A man lowers the Cuban flag while standing amidst flagposts installed outside the U.S. embassy in Havana, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Flagposts installed outside the U.S. embassy cast their shadows on the sidewalk of the seafront Malecon in Havana, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Tourists pass by the U.S. Embassy in Havana, February 18, 2016. Picture taken February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Competitors run past the U.S. embassy during the Marabana marathon in Havana, November 15, 2015. In the year since detente, more Americans are visiting Cuba, and more Cubans are trying to reach the U.S., concerned that special treatment for Cubans may end. While foreigners are in a frenzy, most Cubans report little change. Although they have guaranteed education and healthcare and minimal fear of violent crime, their wages are poor and economic opportunities limited. Picture taken November 15, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
The Cuban flag flies at half staff in recognition of the death of Fidel Castro, the long time leader of Cuba, at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, U.S., November 28, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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The State Department statement said the two cases confirmed this month "result from a single occurrence in late May in a diplomatic residence in which both officers were present." They raised the number of Americans affected to 26, it said.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, which has partly rolled back a detente with Cuba, first charged diplomats were the victims of "sonic attacks" and Cuba as the host country was at a minimum responsible for their safety.

Washington last year sharply reduced U.S. Embassy staff in Havana and in October expelled 15 Cuban diplomats.

Symptoms suffered by those affected have included hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, headaches and fatigue, a pattern consistent with "mild traumatic brain injury," State Department officials have said.

In April, Canada said it would remove families of diplomats posted at its embassy in Cuba as information from medical specialists had raised concerns of a new type of brain injury.

The U.S. State Department said this month it had brought a group of diplomats home from Guangzhou, China, over concerns they were suffering from a malady that resembles a brain injury. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu Writing by Eric Walsh Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)

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