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United States staffer suffers brain injury after 'sound' incident in China

23 May 2018, 08:44 | Clyde Nash

US warns its citizens in China after embassy worker suffers brain injury from possible 'sonic attack'

US gov't worker reports

The U.S. State Department is warning U.S. citizens in China that a government employee reported unusual "sensations of sound and pressure" and was later diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury - a case that recalls a wave of so-called "sonic attacks" on U.S. diplomats in Cuba.

Meanwhile, the US State Department stated that the US consulate worker in southern China that had earlier reported symptoms similar to those of mild brain injury and head concussion returned to the US for further examination.

"The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event".

The State Department said in its Wednesday statement that anyone who experienced "unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena" while in China should move away from the source of the noise.

Past year 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.

The embassy issued a health alert to U.S. citizens in China.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the brain injury sustained by an American official in China was "very similar" to those that affected U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Cuba.

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Pompeo said the State Department is moving medical teams into place in Guangzhou and has asked for assistance from the Chinese government, which has committed to providing it. Ten Canadian diplomats and their relatives also suffered a unusual illness.

The spokeswoman at the US Embassy in Beijing told CNN the State Department was taking the incident "very seriously" and was working to determine the cause and impact of it.

The spokeswoman added that the Chinese government is also investigating the matter. Officials believe some type of sonic weapon may have been used.

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

The US government has held Cuba responsible, arguing that Raul Castro's authoritarian state must have either carried out the assaults or at least known who was behind them.

Canada announced last month that it was bringing home the families of its diplomats in Cuba after a year-long investigation into the illness failed to reveal a cause. Symptoms included headaches and hearing loss.

Unlike their American counterparts, however, no Canadian envoy reported hearing any suspicious sound prior to falling ill.



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