Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

USA issues alert after employee in China reports 'abnormal' sound sensations

US gov't worker reports US warns its citizens in China after embassy worker suffers brain injury from possible 'sonic attack'
Andrew Cummings | 23 May, 2018, 21:15

A United States Government employee in southern China has reported suffering from "abnormal" sounds and pressure leading to a mild brain injury, the USA embassy said - recalling similar experiences among American diplomats in Cuba.

The odd trauma inflicted on the United States official there recalls a similar spate of reports from Cuba, where USA officials reported symptoms consistent with a "sonic attack" or exposure to harmful frequencies while overseas.

An investigation to establish the cause and impact has been launched by the US State Department.

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.

Meanwhile, the US State Department stated that the US consulate worker in southern China that had earlier reported symptoms similar to those of mild brain injury and head concussion returned to the US for further examination.

The embassy's health alert said that the government employee "recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure". On Wednesday, the USA state department issued a warning to citizens in China after a diplomat reported "abnormal sensations of sound and pressure".

"While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source", the embassy's health alert said.

"The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event", it added. The state department said 20 employees were affected and blamed Cuba. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", the emailed alert said.

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The State Department is investigating whether or not this could be a possible "sonic attack", similar to what took place in Cuba a year ago and in 2016.

USA and Chinese authorities are investigating the matter after the employee, who was assigned to Guangzhou, was diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, embassy spokeswoman Jinnie Lee said.

"The clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)", the embassy said.

CNN has reached out to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs but has not yet received a response on this matter.

The U.S.is determining whether or not this is a "sonic attack" and whether or not it's similar to what possibly happened in Cuba, a U.S. diplomatic official told CNN.

In November 2016, USA diplomatic staff in Cuba said they began to experience symptoms and were subsequently treated for hearing loss, dizziness, balance problems and insomnia, all of which occurred after their exposure to alleged acoustic attacks.

That study found that 21 US government employees in Havana experienced "persistent cognitive, vestibular, and oculomotor dysfunction, as well as sleep impairment and headaches, were observed. associated with reports of directional audible and/or sensory phenomena of unclear origin".

The cause of those incidents remains unresolved.

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