U.S. staffers leave China consulate after more illness reported

U.S. staffers leave China consulate after more illness reported

June 7 (UPI) — The U.S. State Department has evacuated more staffers from its Guangzhou, China, consulate after another round of illness that could be related to a suspected attack there a month ago.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the employee’s symptoms in China were consistent with those reported by diplomats in Cuba last year, in what was believed to be a “sonic attack.” Nauert said a medical team was sent to Guangzhou.

Last month, the department issued a health alert to U.S. government workers after an employee at the same consulate displayed signs of a brain injury after hearing and feeling “abnormal” sounds and pressure.

“U.S. medical professionals will continue to conduct full evaluations to determine the cause of the reported symptoms and whether the findings are consistent with those noted in previously affected government personnel or possibly completely unrelated,” Nauert said.

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

This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced plans for a Heath Incidents Response Task Force to respond to unexplained health problems that affect U.S. diplomats and their families abroad.