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

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

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

In an episode that recalls the so-called "sonic attacks" in Cuba from 2016 and 2017, a U.S. State Department employee in China has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury after reporting "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure", according to a health alert issued Wednesday.

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.

In an alert emailed to USA citizens in China, the Embassy said it does not know what caused the symptoms or of any similar situations in the country.

The US state department has urged its staff in China to alert them to any abnormal hearing or vision issues after one employee reported mystery symptoms. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", recommends the State Department.

Charles Rosenfarb, a doctor and director of the department's Bureau of Medical Services, said the symptoms were mixed, but consistent with brain trauma. The Chinese government has assured the US that it is investigating the matter and taking appropriate measures, according to a State Department spokesperson.

"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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Around November 2016, U.S. diplomats based in Cuba started to complain of odd ailments, including dizziness, nausea and hearing problems.

The unusual incident recalls a similar spate of reports from Cuba, where United States officials reported symptoms consistent with a "sonic attack", or exposure to harmful frequencies.

Although details on the Guangzhou employee's condition is unclear, Jinnie Lee, a USA embassy spokeswoman in Beijing confirmed that the staffer had experienced a number of physical health symptoms over the past year, reported the Washington Post.

In the Cuba incident a year ago, 21 people fell sick with injuries including hearing loss, cognitive issues and sleep difficulties in what the State Department called an "attack".

Cuban officials dismissed the idea of acoustic strikes as "science fiction" and accused Washington of slander.

The cause of those incidents remains unresolved.

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