Two more U.S. diplomats in China hit by mysterious illness


The alert, the second in just two weeks, urged Americans to seek medical help in the event they suffered any "unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena, or other health concerns".

A health alert was first issued for Guangzhou on May 23 after a USA employee stationed in the southern Chinese city was diagnosed with a mild brain injury after complaining of unexplained sonic phenomena. A earlier case in Guangzhou, disclosed final month, prompted the checks.

THE United States State Department has evacuated more staff from China over fears they may have been hit by a mysterious illness that has struck other colleagues in the Asian country and Cuba.

The US has set up a task force to oversee the response to the mystery ailments among diplomats in China and Cuba, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.

"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", Nauert said. The staffer had reported hearing and feeling "abnormal" sounds and pressure. It urged them "not to attempt to locate the source of any unidentified auditory sensation". Instead, it said, they should move to a different location.

Lenzi also contends that his security clearance was frozen after he attempted to bring attention to the issue, effectively barring him from work at the consulate, and that he is now calling for the resignation of the US ambassador to China, who is based in Beijing.

"Practically all Chinese people do not believe that this country's official organisations would carry out such sonic attacks against US diplomats".

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".

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in her daily press briefing on Thursday they had not been informed of any additional cases after the first individual but the Chinese government would start an investigation if the USA requested.

A US official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the situation publicly and requested anonymity, said the evacuated American government workers were being brought from China for testing to the University of Pennsylvania. It's one of five consulates the US operates in China, along with its main embassy in Beijing, according to the State Department's website.

He said that as of now, 24 government employees or family members who worked in Cuba had confirmed symptoms "similar to those noted following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury".

The Penn team said the patients from Cuba experienced persistent disability though rehabilitation therapy customized for them seemed to help.

"The health, safety and security of our diplomatic staff and their families overseas is our top priority", the statement says. Former State Department officials and diplomatic experts have pointed to similar incidents causing permanent cognitive issues occurring against US diplomats in Russian Federation during the Cold War.

Lenzi was so upset over the State Department's one-month delay in informing other consulate staffers about the March incident that he sent an email to the entire staff, decrying what he described as misleading information from officials in an interview with the New York Times. It is also the only U.S. diplomatic installation in China authorised to process immigrant visas and handle adoptions.

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