A US State Department employee has suffered "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure" that later lead to a diagnosis of "mild traumatic brain injury" while working in China - resulting in a warning to all US citizens there.
Embassy spokeswoman Jinnie Lee told USA media the employee suffered a mild traumatic brain injury while working at the U.S. consulate in the city of Guangzhou. Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, said that from late 2017 to April 2018, a government employee assigned to Guangzhou reported a variety of physical symptoms.
The State Department went on to advise: "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".
In Cuba a year ago, 24 diplomats and their family members were left with mysterious injuries resembling brain trauma, which were suspected of being caused by a "sonic attack".
The embassy's statement provided no details regarding the location where the incident was registered, however, the contacts of the US Consulate General in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou were attached to it.
The worker was sent to the United States for further evaluation.
"We can not at this time connect it with what happened in Havana, but we are investigating all possibilities", a U.S. embassy official told Reuters.
The federal employee reported experiencing physical symptoms from late 2017 through April 2018, when he or she returned to the US for medical evaluation.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in Washington to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the medical indications of the incident in Guangzhou "are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications of the Americans working in Havana".
The State Department's health advisory noted the cause of the symptoms is unknown. The State Department ultimately confirmed 21 cases in Cuba.
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". Symptoms included headaches and hearing loss. -Cuban relations, while investigators have chased theories including a sonic attack, electromagnetic weapon or a flawed spying device.
Canada announced last month that it was bringing home the families of its diplomats in Cuba after a year-long investigation into the illness failed to reveal a cause.
Unlike their American counterparts, however, no Canadian envoy reported hearing any suspicious sound prior to falling ill.