U.S. warns citizens in China after consulate worker suffers 'abnormal' brain injury

US gov't worker reports

US gov't worker reports "abnormal" sound, pressure in China

A USA government employee in southern China reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure, the State Department said Wednesday, recalling similar experiences among American diplomats in Cuba who later fell ill. Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing learned of the diagnosis: mild traumatic brain injury. "The U.S. government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event".

The embassy warned workers in China to move away from the source of the noise if they experience "any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomenon" with "unusual sounds of piercing noises".

A year ago in Cuba, the United States reported that some of its personnel and family members experience a range of symptoms, often after hearing an unusual sound, but the cause is still unknown.

Both the US State Department and the Chinese government were investigating the incident, the embassy said.

"We can not at this time connect it with what happened in Havana, but we are investigating all possibilities", a U.S. embassy official told Reuters.

An American working at the US Consulate in southern China reported experiencing "abnormal" sounds and pressure that resulted in a mild brain injury - reminiscent of a mysterious illness that recently hit diplomats in Cuba, officials said Wednesday.

After first reporting symptoms in late 2017, the employee was sent back to the U.S.in May of 2018.




The employee experienced the symptoms from late 2017 through April 2018 while on assignment in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, where a USA consulate is located, according to Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman at the US embassy in Beijing.

China's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Of the 21 medically confirmed United States victims, some have permanent hearing loss or concussions, while others suffered nausea, headaches and ear-ringing.

Officials initially suspected the Americans had been targeted by an acoustic weapon, but media reports have suggested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been unable to verify any evidence to support that theory.

The still-unexplained incidents sparked a rift in US-Cuban relations with the US expelling 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States for what it said was Cuba's failure to protect its staff.

"The cause (of their symptoms) remains unknown but could be human-made", the Canadian government concluded. Officials believe some type of sonic weapon may have been used.

The symptoms included dizziness, headaches and a lack of ability to concentrate.

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