United States warns employees after Chinese embassy worker shows brain injury

US gov't worker reports

US warns its citizens in China after embassy worker suffers brain injury from possible 'sonic attack'

A US government employee in China reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure ahead of being diagnosed with a mild brain injury, in a case reminiscent of diplomats who fell ill in Cuba past year. Should someone in China hear these noises, they should move somewhere where they don't hear them anymore, the alert says.

Charles Rosenfarb, a doctor and director of the State Department bureau of medical services, said the symptoms were mixed but consistent with brain trauma.

A spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing confirmed to CBS News that from late 2017 through April 2018, a U.S. government employee assigned to the Guangzhou Consulate reported "a variety of physical symptoms". Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing learned of the diagnosis: mild traumatic brain injury.

The employee was sent to the United States for evaluation on treatment.

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".

The unnamed American citizen assigned to the consulate in Guangzhou had reported a variety of "physical symptoms" dating from late 2017 to April this year, the USA embassy in Beijing said in an email.

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"The (State) Department is taking this incident very seriously and is working to determine the cause and impact of the incident", US Embassy spokeswoman Jinnie Lee told Agence France-Presse.

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

Officials initially suspected the Americans had been targeted by an acoustic weapon, but media reports have suggested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been unable to verify any evidence to support that theory.

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.

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.

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