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

23 May, 2018, 21:15 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • US gov't worker reports

A USA government employee in China reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure ahead of being diagnosed with a mild brain injury, in a case reminiscent of diplomats who fell ill in Cuba previous year.

The US State Department is looking into whether the report is similar to incidents in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, an American official told CNN, in which so-called "sonic attacks" on diplomats and family members led to a reduction in staffing there.

An investigation to establish the cause and impact has been launched by the US State Department. The Chinese government has assured the USA that it is investigating the matter and taking appropriate measures, according to a State Department spokesperson.

In an alert emailed to US citizens in China, the Embassy said it does not know what caused the symptoms or of any similar situations in the country.

A health alert has been issued by the USA embassy in Guangzhou, warning Americans living or working in China to take action if "unusual sounds or piercing noises" are heard.

In 2016 USA embassy staff in Cuba said they had suffered dizziness, nausea and hearing problems.

The embassy advised Americans experiencing "unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises" not to attempt to locate the source of the sound but to move away from the location, and seek medical help. "The U.S. government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event".

The employee reported these symptoms between late 2017 and April 2018 and was later diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, the BBC reported.

Suspected "sonic attacks" affecting more than a dozen USA diplomats and family members in Havana beginning in November 2016 led to the U.S.

Last September, the U.S. State Department issued a similar health warning to Americans in Cuba after at least 21 diplomats reportedly experienced similar symptoms, including hearing loss, tinnitus, visual difficulties and fatigue.

The US originally called the Cuba incidents "sonic attacks", but later backed off that phrasing as medical experts examined the patients and found their symptoms and conditions of mysterious origins.

The victims reported headaches, hearing loss, disorientation and some loss of cognitive ability.

"The clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)", the embassy said.

The cause of those incidents remains unresolved.

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