American diplomats fall ill in China after hearing odd noises


A USA medical team was screening Americans who work in a southern Chinese city as the State Department confirmed evacuating a number of government workers who experienced unexplained health issues like those that have hurt U.S. personnel in Cuba.

The entrance of the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, June 7, 2018.

Two American diplomats stationed in China were reportedly evacuated from the region after being sickened by a mysterious ailment linked to odd sounds.

The illnesses appear more widespread than the State Department initially reported last month, when it said that one person had "reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure". The individual's symptoms were consistent with those associated with a so-called sonic attack on USA envoys in Cuba a year ago.

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Heather Nauert, the State Department's spokeswoman, said "several" consulate employees had returned to the United States from China for further evaluation after they were screened as part of a task force Secretary of State Mike Pompeo created last month.

"Medical professionals will continue to conduct full evaluations to determine the cause of the reported symptoms and whether the findings are consistent with those noted in previously affected government personnel or possibly completely unrelated", she said.

In October, the U.S. State Department ordered non-essential embassy workers and their families to evacuate Havana out of concern the mysterious illness was the result of a targeted sonic attack.

On Thursday, China's Foreign Ministry said invesstigators looked into the case after being told about the first incident.

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Asked about the latest incidents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the USA had not formally raised the matter with Beijing. We learnt this from the report of the New York Times. "If there is really some problem, U.S. can directly connect and communicate with China and China will adopt a responsible attitude to investigate this", she said. The retelling of his and his wife's experience to the Times heavily resembles what the diplomats in Cuba reportedly suffered: headaches, odd physical symptoms, and occasional "unusual noises".

The US Government has deemed those incidents "specific attacks" on American workers but has not publicly identified a cause or culprit.

The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the U.S. consular employee in Guangzhou suffered symptoms that were "very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications of the Americans working in Havana". The issue led the United States to expel Cuban diplomats.

In 2017, 24 diplomats and their family members left Cuba after suffering from unexplained symptoms including dizziness, headaches, cognitive issues, and visual problems.

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