After "Mystery Illness" Hits US Diplomats In China, Alert For Tourists

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

United States officials have said the employee's symptoms were consistent with the ailments that USA diplomats experienced in Cuba past year.

Those attacks began sometime in mid-to-late 2016, according to US officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

In May, Lenzi found out that the same neighbor had been evacuated after exhibiting the same symptoms.

Asked about the latest incidents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the USA had not formally raised the matter with Beijing.

The location of the health alert was changed to "countrywide" from Guangzhou in the updated statement sent by email.

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The new illnesses in China come just weeks after U.S. officials reported finding their first case in Guangzhou, where a consulate employee got sick after reporting disturbing noises. He said they had not put them together until the State Department issued the health alert last month.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Wednesday that medical screenings were ongoing for "any personnel who have noted concerning symptoms or wanted baseline screening".

It also urged Americans to be on guard against symptoms including "dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping".

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.

Nauert on Wednesday reiterated that the "safety and security of USA personnel and their families is our top priority".

The State Department has warned that USA diplomats should alert their mission's medical staff "if they note new onset of symptoms that may have begun in association with experiencing unidentified auditory sensations". Many of the Cubans I spoke with seemed confident the sonic attacks had been invented by the U.S. diplomatic community in Havana as an excuse to withdraw their staff in the face of rising tensions with Washington. Starting in 2016, USA representatives in Cuba experienced hearing loss and and other cognitive problems usually associated with concussions and other trauma to the head. The embassy's statement, however, mentioned that the health issue can not be linked with the one that a USA embassy staffer suffered in Cuba 2016.

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Sen. Jeff Flake said Thursday that the State Department was "trying to work through it" and it was "obviously" concerned "about the health and safety of its diplomats".

A study earlier this year outlined the extensiveness of the problem, but the State Department has not pointed to a specific cause behind the mysterious incidents.

"By far, we have found no reason or clue that would lead to the situation reported by the U.S. side", ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The U.S. State Department on Friday issued an expanded health alert for all of China amid reports some U.S. diplomats based in the country had experienced a mysterious malady that resembles a brain injury and has already affected U.S. personnel in Cuba.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said "a number of individuals" had been brought to the USA but did not say how many were affected or evacuated.

Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing told The Washington Post in May that the Chinese government "has assured us they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures". "On May 16, 2018, a USA government employee serving in China was medically-confirmed with similar findings", Pompeo said.

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