US expands China health alert amid illness reports

Jun 11, 2018, 00:58
US expands China health alert amid illness reports

Cuba said it sent investigators to the home who found no potential source of a sound and were not granted access to the official.

Those affected have suffered a range of symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, fatigue, cognitive issues and sleep loss.

The U.S. government has deemed the Cuba incidents "specific attacks" on American workers but hasn't publicly identified a cause or culprit.

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The symptoms are similar to those exhibited by USA personnel in Cuba after they heard unusual noises in an apparent sonic attack.

Cuba released details Sunday on the latest mysterious health incident involving a US diplomat in the country, saying that Cuban officials learned of the episode late last month when the USA said that an embassy official felt ill after hearing "undefined sounds" in her home in Havana.

The United States has evacuated some Americans from its consulate in Guangzhou, China, after a U.S. employee was confirmed to be suffering symptoms consistent with the mysterious illness that led to the removal of more than half of the U.S. Embassy staff in Cuba, the State Department said Wednesday. USA officials have detailed how personnel in Cuba came to experience a variety of symptoms including sharp ear pain, headaches, ringing in one ear, vertigo, disorientation, attention issues and signs consistent with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.

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The alert comes as a USA medical team is screening more Americans who work at the Guangzhou consulate. There is a US medical team in Guangzhou assessing whether more people need to leave China, the Associated Press reported. "The Ministry of Foreign Relations reiterates that no evidence of the alleged incidents has been presented, and maintains its unwavering commitment to cooperate with US authorities". Most of the incidents were accompanied by freakish, unexplained sounds that initially led USA investigators to suspect a sonic attack.

The incidents have raised concerns that a government or agency may be targeting the USA with a new type of sonic weapon.

"If the U.S. makes formal contact with us, China will continue necessary investigations in an earnest and responsible manner and maintain close communication and cooperation with the U.S.", Hua said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

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Aled Williams, a British teacher at a kindergarten said Thursday that the reports sounded "sci-fi-ish".

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