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United States employee in China reports mysterious 'abnormal' sounds and pressure

United States employee in China reports mysterious 'abnormal' sounds and pressure

A health alert sent Wednesday said a USA government employee assigned to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou reported "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure".

A USA consulate worker in southern China has a mild traumatic brain injury, after reporting abnormal sensations of sound and pressure, the U.S. embassy has said.

Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, said that from late 2017 to April 2018, a government employee assigned to Guangzhou reported a variety of physical symptoms.

Emily Rauhala, The Washington Post's China correspondent, reported that the State Department confirmed the USA worker's ailment was diagnosed as a mild traumatic brain injury, something U.S. officials in Cuba also experienced.

The American, who has not been named, fell ill while working for the U.S. government in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. The person was sent to the United States and diagnosed with MTBI on May 18.

In an emailed notice to USA citizens in China, the department said it was not now known what caused the symptoms in the city of Guangzhou, where an American consulate is located.

The unnamed employee in the city of Guangzhou "recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure", the State Department said in an emailed statement to USA citizens in China.

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"We can not at this time connect it with what happened in Havana, but we are investigating all possibilities", a United States embassy official told Reuters.

CNN has reached out to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs but has not yet received a response on this matter. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", it says, urging people with medical problems to consult a doctor.

The Post reports that Chinese and USA officials are looking into the matter.

The State Department warned those who experience any "unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises" to leave the area immediately.

Of the 21 medically confirmed USA victims, some have permanent hearing loss or concussions, while others suffered nausea, headaches and ear-ringing. Media reports have suggested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has not been able to verify any evidence to support the sonic weapon theory.

The still-unexplained incidents sparked a rift in US-Cuban relations, while investigators have chased theories including a sonic attack, electromagnetic weapon or flawed spying device. The cause of those incidents, reported in late 2016 and early 2017, still remains a mystery.

The US originally called the Cuba incidents "sonic attacks" but later backed off that phrasing as medical experts examined the patients and found their symptoms and conditions to be of mysterious origins.