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Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) sent a letter to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Brenda Fitzgerald and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins urging them to take a leading role in the investigation into the cause and medical effects of the alleged sonic attacks that have targeted 24 personnel working at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba.

The Members wrote: “We need to use all available resources to discover the medical cause and impact of what happened to our embassy personnel in Cuba. As noted in your mission statements, ‘CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats’ and NIH applies ‘knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.’ Your expertise is needed now more than ever in determining what precisely happened to U.S. personnel in Cuba.”

Full text of the letter is available below or here:

December 4, 2017

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald
Director
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Francis Collins
Director
National Institutes of Health

Dear Dr. Fitzgerald and Dr. Collins,

As the Committee awaits an update from the State Department on the investigation into sonic attacks on personnel working at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, we write to urge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to offer to take a leading role in investigating the medical effects of these incidents and their potential cause.

According to the State Department, as of October 20th, 24 individuals serving at the U.S. Embassy in Havana were confirmed to have experienced health effects due to the alleged attacks. Since the incidents were first made public by the State Department in August, numerous press reports have indicated that the health effects were caused by some type of a sonic device. Yet, a State Department official in September said that “we still do not have definitive answers on the source or cause of the attacks.”

We need to use all available resources to discover the medical cause and impact of what happened to our embassy personnel in Cuba. As noted in your mission statements, “CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats” and NIH applies “knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.” Your expertise is needed now more than ever in determining what precisely happened to U.S. personnel in Cuba.

For the health and safety of Americans serving abroad – not only in Havana but around the world – we urge you to offer to take a leading role in investigating these incidents. Thank you very much for your attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

Eliot L. Engel
Ranking Member
Foreign Affairs Comittee

Edward R. Royce
Chairman
Foreign Affairs Committee

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