United States warns citizens in China after 'abnormal' sound injures consulate worker

  • United States warns citizens in China after 'abnormal' sound injures consulate worker

United States warns citizens in China after 'abnormal' sound injures consulate worker

The State Department issued a health alert on Wednesday for US citizens in China, after a government employee reported unusual "sensations of sound and pressure" and was later diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury.

A US government employee in China suffered a mild brain injury after hearing "abnormal" sounds in an incident reminiscent of others in Cuba that prompted the State Department to withdraw most of its personnel.

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 embassy advised Americans experiencing "unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises" not to attempt to locate the source of the sound but to move away from the location, and seek medical help.

In 2016, USA government personnel in Cuba reported hearing weird, loud sounds along with feelings of changes in air pressure in their homes owned and maintained by the Cuban government as well as hotel rooms.

The worker was sent to the United States for further evaluation.

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

China's Foreign Ministry and National Health Commission did not immediately respond to faxed questions about the report.

"We can not at this time connect it with what happened in Havana but we are investigating all possibilities", a U.S. embassy official in Beijing told AFP on the condition of anonymity.

The report comes after multiple US and Canadian nationals suffered from what the USA government called "health attacks" in Cuba. For most, the symptoms occurred around May 2017. State Department said in its health advisory posted online Wednesday.

Staff there reported symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, fatigue and cognitive issues, though Cuban officials dismissed the idea of acoustic strikes as "science fiction" and accused Washington of slander.

The US government has held Cuba responsible, arguing that Raul Castro's authoritarian state must have either carried out the assaults or at least known who was behind them.

The still-unexplained incidents sparked a rift in US-Cuban relations, while investigators have chased theories including a sonic attack, electromagnetic weapon or flawed spying device.

"The cause (of their symptoms) remains unknown but could be human-made", the Canadian government concluded.