U.S. expands health alert to cover China after mystery illness

U.S. expands health alert to cover China after mystery illness

June 8 (UPI) — The U.S. State Department expanded a health alert Friday for American staffers in China, about two days after it evacuated diplomats and relatives over a mysterious acoustic illness.

The health alert was issued May 23 in Guangzhou after a staffer at the U.S. consulate there was diagnosed with a mild brain injury. The staffer had reported hearing and feeling “abnormal” sounds and pressure.

Wednesday, the department began evacuating staffers from the Guangzhou consulate. Friday, it widened the alert to cover U.S. diplomatic staff in all of China.

The nationwide alert advises U.S. personnel to contact a doctor if they experience unusual or unexplained physical symptoms.

“Dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping,” U.S. officials specified.

Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the illness in China appears consistent with others experienced by U.S. diplomats in Cuba last year that resulted from what’s officials believe were a series of “sonic attacks.”

The State Department removed staffers last fall from the Havana consulate after more than 20 U.S. diplomats and relatives experienced dizziness and hearing loss. The United States expelled Cuban diplomats in response.