16:41US Diplomat in China Reports 'Abnormal' Sound, Pressure Sensations


Emily Rauhala, The Washington Post's China correspondent, reported that the State Department confirmed the U.S. worker's ailment was diagnosed as a mild traumatic brain injury, something USA officials in Cuba also experienced.

An American citizen working at the USA consulate in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has reported suffering from "abnormal" sounds and pressure leading to a mild brain injury, the US embassy said on Wednesday.

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

The embassy issued a health alert to USA citizens in China.

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The American, who has not been named, fell ill while working for the U.S. government in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. The individual was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury last week.

The Washington Post first reported on the employee, based in Guangzhou, who suffered the injury. "The U.S. government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event".

CNN has reached out to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs but has not yet received a response on this matter.

In Cuba, the American victims had associated the onset of their symptoms with "unusual sounds or auditory sensations".

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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.

Initially officials suspected the Americans had been targeted by some sort of acoustic weapon, although in public senior officials were more cautious, speaking of "health attacks". In almost all cases, the ailments were preceded by some sort of "acoustic element", such as a "high-pitched beam of sound" or a "baffling sensation akin to driving with the windows partially open in a vehicle".

While the US has accused China of engaging in risky attacks on American personnel, including using lasers to harass and blind American pilots operating off the coast of Africa, there is now no evidence that China is involved in the incident, which has not yet been identified as an attack. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", recommends the State Department. Americans working in Cuba suffered permanent hearing loss, severe headaches, loss of balance, brain swelling, and disruption to cognitive functions.

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