USA staffer suffers brain injury after 'sound' incident in China

Doug Mendoza
May 23, 2018

The State Department said an email notice Wednesday, May 23, 2018, that a USA government employee in southern China reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure, recalling similar experiences among American diplomats in Cuba who later fell ill.

The State Department says a U.S. government employee working in China suffered "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure" that later led to a diagnosis of "mild traumatic brain injury".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that "the medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent" with the symptoms reported by Americans working at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba.

The embassy warned workers in China to move away from the source of the noise if they experience "any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomenon" with "unusual sounds of piercing noises".

In Cuba past year, 24 diplomats and their family members were left with mysterious injuries resembling brain trauma, which were suspected of being caused by a "sonic attack".

The American, who has not been named, fell ill while working for the U.S. government in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

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

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

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The State Department was taking the incident very seriously and working to determine the cause and impact, the embassy said.

The Chinese foreign ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

"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.

Medical testing revealed the embassy workers in Cuba developed changes to the white-matter tracts that let different parts of the brain communicate, officials told the Associated Press.

In October, a State Department official said the USA had "received a handful of reports from US citizens who report they experienced similar symptoms following stays in Cuba". Some have permanent hearing loss or concussions, while others suffered nausea, headaches and ear-ringing.

Of the 21 medically confirmed U.S. victims, some have permanent hearing loss or concussions, while others suffered nausea, headaches and ear-ringing. Officials believe some type of sonic weapon may have been used.

The cause of those incidents remains unresolved.

Other reports by GizPress

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