U.S. screens staff in China over mystery ailment

Sonic attack warning issued as US citizens fall ill in China | Daily Star

Mysterious ‘sonic attacks’ prompt evacuation of 2 more US staff from China – report

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On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department evacuated at least two more American workers experiencing unusual health symptoms from their consulate in Guangzhou, China.

The unexplained health problems have already prompted the evacuation of a number of United States government employees from the southern city of Guangzhou, where a USA consulate is based.

Since that case was made public last month, an undisclosed number of other consulate staff and family members have also been evacuated for further tests.

The case revived fears that a USA rival has developed some kind of acoustic or microwave device after similar symptoms were reported among American diplomats and their families in Cuba in 2016.

The US State Department has linked a mysterious illness contracted by an employee in China with brain injuries developed by diplomats in Cuba.

The evacuations of workers in Guangzhou followed medical testing that revealed they might have been affected.

The alert, the second in two weeks on the subject, told Americans they should not attempt to locate the source of any unidentified auditory sensation. "Instead, move to a different location".

The US government declared the Cuba incidents to be "specific attacks" on American workers but has not publicly identified a cause or culprit. Most of the incidents were accompanied by freakish, unexplained sounds that initially led USA investigators to suspect a sonic attack.

In addition to the Beijing embassy and Guangzhou consulate, the United States operates consulates in the mainland Chinese cities of Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenyang and Wuhan.

"If there is really some problem, USA can directly connect and communicate with China and China will adopt a responsible attitude to investigate this", she said.

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China has said it investigated the initial case and found no explanation.

After the first incident in Guangzhou, medical tests were offered to USA government employees and family members who requested it, the State Department said.

The US citizens - 24 in total - suffered a variety of symptoms including sharp ear pain, headaches, ringing in one ear, vertigo, disorientation, attention issues and signs consistent with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.

The Penn team said that the patients from Cuba experienced persistent disability, though rehabilitation therapy customised for them seemed to help.

In April, Canada also ordered families of diplomatic staff in Cuba to return home after mysterious health symptoms were detected in 10 Canadians stationed on the island.

Nauert said the "medical screenings are ongoing".

The new Health Incidents Response Team, which was established by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan at Pompeo's request, will include the Departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce, Justice, Defense and Energy and other members of the foreign affairs community.

As part of its response, the United States also expelled 17 Cuban diplomats from Washington, and issued a travel alert for USA visitors to the island.

The State Department has warned that U.S. diplomats should alert their mission's medical staff "if they note new onset of symptoms that may have begun in association with experiencing unidentified auditory sensations".

It serves four southern provinces with a combined population of more than 204 million and processes more than one million visa applications of all types annually. It is also the only United States diplomatic installation in China authorised to process immigrant visas and handle adoptions.

Folks working in The Canton Place complicated, a couple of kilometers (miles) from the consulate, mentioned they had been simply listening to in regards to the incidents, reflecting an absence of protection in China's completely state-controlled media.

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