US considers whether virus might explain attacks in Cuba

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., center, confers with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., left, as Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., far right, speaks as the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere examines attacks on American diplomats in Havana, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says the United States is considering whether viral or “other types of attacks” harmed American diplomatic personnel in Cuba.

State Department officials are testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the unexplained incidents in Havana. The hearing comes after The Associated Press reported that a new FBI report shows no evidence for the initial theory of a sonic weapon.

Todd Brown, from State Department’s Diplomatic Security, says investigators are considering other possibilities including a viral attack. He says the possibility someone deliberately infected people with a virus hasn’t been ruled out.

Dr. Charles Rosenfarb from the State Department’s medical unit says evidence suggest this is “not an episode of mass hysteria.” He says there are “exact findings” on medical tests that couldn’t be easily faked.