U.S. screens more consulate staff in China over mystery health issues

10 June, 2018, 08:21 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Getty    
     MYSTERIOUS US embassy building with the US flag raised over it in Havana

In May, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the symptoms experienced by the American worker evacuated from China in April were the same as those exhibited by diplomats in Cuba during testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

It also advised any USA citizen, or their family members, who experience "any unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena, or other health concerns" to contact their doctor.

US investigators initially said the illnesses in Cuba could have been the result of a "sonic attack".

The concerns were sparked following the unexplained issues that started in Cuba in 2016 that may have spread to other countries.

Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, as well as difficulty sleeping, the warning said.

Lenzi told the Times he lived in the same flat tower as the officer who had been evacuated in April and that he had suffered in recent months from what he called "neurological symptoms".

The New York Times reported yesterday that at least two more American diplomats in Guangzhou have experienced similar phenomena and fallen ill.

While US authorities have only confirmed that one staffer has been affected so far, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Wednesday they had commissioned optional health screenings for all Guangzhou personnel.

The US embassy's latest health alert, the second in two weeks, said that following voluntary medical screenings, the State Department "has sent other individuals to the United States for further evaluation". The U.S. diplomatic presence in Havana was scaled back and 15 Cuban diplomats were sent home from the United States in retaliation for their country's apparent failure to protect diplomats.

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The US State Department said Wednesday a medical team had been sent to Guangzhou, in southern China, to conduct screenings of all US government employees and family members who asked for them. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday that as far as she was aware the Chinese government had not had any formal communication with USA officials on any new cases.

This was consistent with symptoms experienced by some U.S. personnel in Cuba.

The Embassy Beijing and five USA consulates in China, she said, held "townhall meetings" on May 23 "to allow employees to ask questions and raise concerns directly with senior leadership".

The Penn group mentioned the sufferers from Cuba skilled persistent incapacity although rehabilitation remedy custom-made for them appeared to assist.

Pompeo had previously said on May 23 the Guangzhou incident was very similar to the mysterious sound-related illnesses experienced by U.S. personnel in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, a statement which was reiterated by his department on Wednesday.

As part of its response, the United States also expelled 17 Cuban diplomats from Washington, and issued a travel alert for USA visitors to the island. It's also the one US diplomatic set up in China licensed to course of immigrant visas and deal with adoptions.

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

Linda Chen, who runs a coffee shop in the area, said she was mystified as to why only certain people seemed to have been affected in an area known for its comfort and safety. Some of those individuals didn't feel or hear anything odd, but others reported hearing unusual noises that some have linked to "sonic attacks".

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