US Warns Citizens in China After 'Abnormal' Sound Injures Worker

US Warns Citizens in China After 'Abnormal' Sound Injures Worker

A United States Government employee in southern China has reported suffering from "abnormal" sounds and pressure leading to a mild brain injury, the U.S. embassy said - recalling similar experiences among American diplomats in Cuba.

The US State Department is looking into whether the incident is a "sonic attack", a US diplomatic official told CNN, similar to what happened in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, which led to a reduction in staffing at the nation's US embassy in Havana.

The US State Department has said that at least 24 individuals working at the US Embassy in Havana experienced health effects caused by these purported attacks.

"The Chinese government has assured us they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures", said Lee, the embassy spokeswoman.

In an emailed notice to American citizens in China, the department said it was not now known what caused the symptoms in the city of Guangzhou, where an American consulate is located.

The official who fell ill was assigned to the city of Guangzhou in southern China and reported a range of physical symptoms from late 2017 through to April 2018, the State Department said.

The American Foreign Service Association said then that government employees had been diagnosed with "mild traumatic brain injury and permanent hearing loss, with such additional symptoms as loss of balance, severe headaches, cognitive disruption, and brain swelling".

"While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source".

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The U.S. also expelled 15 Cuban officials from its embassy in Washington.

"We can not at this time connect it with what happened in Havana but we are investigating all possibilities", a United States embassy official in Beijing told AFP on the condition of anonymity. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", the State Department advises.

Embassy spokeswoman Jinnie Lee said the employee reported the symptoms beginning late past year and they lasted through April.

In October, a State Department official said the US had "received a handful of reports from USA citizens who report they experienced similar symptoms following stays in Cuba".

The incident appears similar to unexplained "sonic attacks" on diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba past year.

"The cause (of their symptoms) remains unknown but could be human-made", the Canadian government concluded.

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

However, U.S. investigators haven't determined who or what was behind the alleged attacks.

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