U.S. warns staff in China: Beware of unusual sounds

U.S. warns staff in China: Beware of unusual sounds

"A US Government employee in China recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure", the notice said.

Embassy spokeswoman Jinnie Lee told USA media the employee suffered a mild traumatic brain injury while working at the U.S. consulate in the city of Guangzhou.

The embassy, which issued a health alert to Americans living in China, said it could not link the case to health issues suffered by US government staff in Cuba dating back to late 2016.

The US State Department is looking into whether the report is similar to incidents in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, an American official told CNN, in which so-called "sonic attacks" on diplomats and family members led to a reduction in staffing there.

The US embassy in China issued a health alert Wednesday after a US government employee experienced an "abnormal" sound and suffered a mild brain injury - in an incident reminiscent of a mysterious illness that hit diplomats in Cuba. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", the emailed alert said. At least two Canadians were also affected.

The worker, who was sent to the United States for further evaluation, was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury on May 8.

The US State Department expelled 17 Cuban diplomats from its Washington embassy a year ago after the incidents came to light.

"Twenty-four people have had symptoms and findings consistent with what looks like a mild traumatic brain injury", State Department medical director Dr. Charles Rosenfarb told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee January 9 "The findings suggest that this is not an episode of mass hysteria".

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

"The Chinese government has assured us they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures".

Charles Rosenfarb, a doctor and director of the State Department bureau of medical services, said the symptoms were mixed but consistent with brain trauma.

Officials initially suspected the Americans had been targeted by an acoustic weapon, but media reports have suggested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been unable to verify any evidence to support that theory. Officials believe some type of sonic weapon may have been used. State Department said in its health advisory posted online Wednesday. Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in September 2017 the American diplomats were victims of "health attacks".

The symptoms included dizziness, headaches and a lack of ability to concentrate.

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