23 May, 2018
USA officials have issued a health alert in China after a United States government employee stationed there reported "abnormal sensations of sound and pressure" that indicated a mild brain injury.
The State Department says it doesn't know what caused the reported symptoms in Guangzhou, and isn't aware of any other similar cases in China. United States officials made no reference to Cuba, where similar reports have been made in relation to two dozen Americans, reports CBS News.
The U.S. operates a consulate in Guangzhou, a sprawling commercial city and port in southern China. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", it said, urging people with medical problems to consult a doctor.
"The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event", it added.
Emily Rauhala, the Washington Post's China correspondent reported that the State Department confirmed the embassy employee had been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, which USA officials in Cuba also experienced.
"We can not at this time connect it with what happened in Havana but we are investigating all possibilities", a USA embassy official in Beijing told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.
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Though some experts expressed doubt when the possibility of a sonic attack in Cuba was first raised, the State Department points to a study by independent medical personnel published earlier this year in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
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".
In Cuba, the USA reported that some of its personnel and family members experienced a range of ailments, often after hearing an unusual sound.
The State Department was taking the incident very seriously and working to determine the cause and impact, the embassy said.
Though Cuban officials dismissed the idea of acoustic strikes as "science fiction" and accused Washington of slander.
U.S. diplomatic officials said they could not link the case to health issues suffered by USA government staff in Cuba dating back to late 2016.