U.S. Embassy warns citizens in China about mystery sonic illness

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

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

On Friday, the U.S. Embassy in China issued a second health alert about a mysterious illness caused by unexplained sounds.

Anyone experiencing "any unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena, or other health concerns" should seek medical advice, the alert said.

"China has conducted a very careful investigation and has given preliminary findings to the U.S., and we haven't found the reason or clues that led to the situation mentioned by the U.S. China has always followed the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations and consular relations to protect the U.S. diplomatic staff and staff from other countries."

Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, as well as difficulty sleeping, the warning said.

Mark Lenzi, a Foreign Service officer who was evacuated from Guangzhou this week along with his wife and 3-year-old son, described the noise as something like "marbles bouncing and hitting a floor, then rolling on an incline with a static sound".

The State Department, which reported the latest medical evacuations on Wednesday, has not accused any particular country or organisation of being behind the latest incidents.

She said they are being offered to "any personnel who have noted concerning symptoms or wanted baseline screening".

A USA medical team has been screening more personnel and their family members who work in Guangzhou this week in order to determine who may have been affected. That's where doctors have been treating and studying patients evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

After confirming one government employee had "suffered a medical incident" in the southern Chinese city, the department deployed a team to screen employees and family members at its consulate there, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Wednesday.

A US official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the situation publicly and requested anonymity, told The Associated Press that the evacuees from China were being tested at the University of Pennsylvania, where patients from Cuba were also treated and evaluated.

State Department evacuates a number of Americans from the USA consulate in Guangzhou after they experienced unexplained health issues; Garrett Tenney reports from Washington.

The Penn team has said the patients experienced persistent disability though rehabilitation therapy customized for them seemed to help.

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

Canada said that the 10 continued to show unexplained brain symptoms and that "medical information raised concerns for a new type of a possible acquired brain injury". Friday, it widened the alert to cover USA diplomatic staff in all of China.

"The Health Incidents Response Task Force serves as the coordinating body for Department and interagency activities, including identification and treatment of affected personnel and family members, investigation and risk mitigation, messaging, and diplomatic outreach", Pompeo's statement debuting the task force read. The Guangzhou consulate opened months after the institution of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington in 1979 and moved to its new purpose-built facility in 2013. It's also the one USA diplomatic set up in China licensed to course of immigrant visas and deal with adoptions.

China's state-run Global Times tabloid called the situation at the consulate "very odd".

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