More Americans Evacuated from China After Diplomat Suffers Brain Injury

Mysterious ‘sonic attacks’ prompt evacuation of 2 more US staff from China – report

Mysterious ‘sonic attacks’ prompt evacuation of 2 more US staff from China – report

The US Embassy in Cuba after the US government pulled more than half of its diplomatic personnel out of Cuba who suffered health problems due to an alleged sonic attack in 2017. Some were even peddling the idea that the attacks were an excuse to allow USA diplomatic personnel to quit their positions while still maintaining their pensions.

The State Department evacuated at least two more Americans from the US consulate in Guangzhou, China, on Wednesday after they began showing signs of a mysterious illness, The New York Times reported.

The State Department sent a medical team to Guangzhou, China, recently after a government employee reported experiencing abnormal sound and pressure.

So far, 24 USA government personnel and family members who served in Cuba and one employee in China have suffered symptoms of the odd sickness, the State department has said. Now more cases have come to light, with "a number" of affected people sent to the United States for further evaluation, according to State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he's created a health care task force to look into "the unexplained health incidents that have affected a number of USA government personnel and family members stationed overseas".

Since 2016, 24 employees at the American embassy in Cuba and their family members have reported similar episodes.

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However, given the similarities between the incidents in Havana and Guangzhou, there is the potential for additional cases of brain injuries being diagnosed, more serious travel advisories being issued leading to a fall in tourist arrivals, and the possible further withdrawal of diplomatic personnel from China.

The State Department did not provide names or exact numbers, but Mark Lenzi, a Foreign Service officer, told the Washington Post that he and his family are among those being evacuated.

An examination of more than 20 affected individuals, conducted by University of Pennsylvania researchers and later published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that the staff affected in Cuba "appeared to have sustained injury to widespread brain networks without an associated history of head trauma".

The Penn team said that the patients from Cuba experienced persistent disability, though rehabilitation therapy customised for them seemed to help. The issue resulted in U.S. expelling many Cuban diplomats.

Separately, a group of researchers at the University of MI suggested that a poorly engineered ultrasonic transmitter, created to eavesdrop on conversations, could have caused the injuries in Cuba. Most of the incidents were accompanied by freaky, unexplained sounds that initially led US investigators to suspect a sonic attack.

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