A new study suggests that mysterious symptoms—such as dizziness, hearing loss, and difficulty concentrating— experienced by diplomats stationed in Cuba in 2016, may have been related to the use of pesticides to kill mosquitos related to a Zika outbreak, according to an article in Buzzfeed News. 
The study—led by a researcher at Canada-based Dalhousie University—examined 26 Canadian diplomats and their family members, several of whom were stationed in Havana. Researchers noted damage to brain regions responsible for nervous system function, concentration, memory formation, and balance, according to Buzzfeed. They also found that the insecticide Temephos, which reportedly interferes with an enzyme responsible for nervous system function, was in several of the blood samples from diplomats who had lived in Havana. In 2017, there was said to be an increase in outdoor fumigation around diplomatic housing related to Zika, Buzzfeed reports.

According to the article, lab studies show that pesticides can damage the inner ear of humans and animals.

“People who have been exposed to pesticides may present with difficulties understanding speech in the presence of background noise or when there are many people talking at the same time,” environmental exposure and hearing expert Adrian Fuente of the University of Montreal was quoted as saying in the article.

Theories about what caused the symptoms have ranged from acoustic attacks to microwave radiation.

To read the article in its entirety, visit the Buzzfeed News website here.

Source: Buzzfeed News