More U.S. State Department officials in China may have suffered a mysterious, possible sonic attack similar to the one that caused injuries, including brain injuries, in dozens of U.S. officials in Cuba.
State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said this week that “a number of” American personnel may have suffered symptoms of possible attacks, and it has been reported that “at least two more” Americans have been been sent home from China.
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In late May, the State Department issued a health alert for U.S. citizens in China after one employee had reported “abnormal sensations of sound and pressure” and was diagnosed with a mild brain injury.
The State Department is investigating whether or not this could be a possible “sonic attack,” similar to what took place in Cuba last year and in 2016. U.S. diplomats there experienced possible “sonic attacks,” and the U.S. eventually reduced the number of American employees there.
“The medical screenings are ongoing for any personnel who have noted concerning symptoms or wanted baseline screening,” Nauert said Wednesday. “As a result of the screening process so far, the Department has sent a number of individuals for further evaluation and a comprehensive assessment of their symptoms and findings in the United States.”
“The State Department has been and will continue to be diligent and transparent in its response to our employees’ concerns,” Nauert added. “U.S. medical professionals will continue to conduct full evaluations to determine the cause of the reported symptoms and whether the findings are consistent with those noted in previously affected government personnel or possibly completely unrelated.”
The U.S. official who first experienced the “abnormal” sounds reported physical symptoms from late 2017 to April of this year, according to the State Department, and the employee was sent home for medical assessment. The employee was stationed in Guangzhou in southern China.
The cause of the injuries is currently unknown.
The U.S. Embassy Beijing learned May 18 that the initial findings of the employee’s assessment matched that of “a mild traumatic brain injury,” according to an Embassy spokeswoman.
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.
“The employee was sent to the United States for further evaluation. On May 18, 2018, the Embassy learned that the clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI),” U.S. Embassy in Beijing spokesperson Jinnie Lee told Gizmodo. “The Chinese government has assured us they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures.”