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Two American diplomats stationed in China were reportedly evacuated from the region after being sickened by a mysterious ailment linked to odd sounds.
The two Americans evacuated worked at the American Consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou, the New York Times [nytimes.com] reported Wednesday, adding that their colleagues and relatives are also being tested by a State Department medical team.
American officials have been worried for months that American diplomats and their families in Cuba -- and now China -- have been subjected to a "sonic attack," leading to symptoms similar to those "following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury," the State Department said in a statement [state.gov] Tuesday.
The new cases broaden a medical mystery that began affecting American diplomats and their families in Cuba in 2016. Since then, 24 Americans stationed in Havana have experienced dizziness, headaches, fatigue, hearing loss and cognitive issues, the State Department said.
Mark Lenzi, a Foreign Service officer in the US Consulate in Guangzhou, told the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] he started hearing noises in April 2017 that sounded like "marbles bouncing and hitting a floor, then rolling on an incline with a static sound." A few months later, he -- along with his wife and their young son -- started experiencing headaches that would sometimes last several days.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a congressional hearing in May that the symptoms experienced by a US diplomat last year in Guangzhou "are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba."
"We are working to figure out what took place both in Havana and now in China as well."
The nature of the injury, and whether a common cause exists, hasn't been established yet, the department said.