The US embassy in China sent its second alert in two weeks on Friday to its citizens over unexplained health issues that have prompted the evacuation of a number of government employees working at a consulate in a southern city, news.com.au reported.
The alert urged Americans to seek medical help in the event they suffered any “unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena, or other health concerns.”
The alert comes as a US medical team is screening more Americans who work at the Guangzhou consulate. A previous case in Guangzhou, disclosed last month, prompted the tests.
The incidents have raised fears the unexplained issues that started in Cuba in 2016 have expanded to other countries. China says it has uncovered no information that could point to a cause. The most recent evacuations followed medical testing that revealed they might have been affected.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said “a number of individuals” had been brought to the US but didn’t say how many were affected or evacuated.
Friday’s alert called for people to be attentive of symptoms including “dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping.”
It urged them “not to attempt to locate the source of any unidentified auditory sensation. Instead, move to a different location.”
The US government has deemed the Cuba incidents “specific attacks” on American workers but hasn’t publicly identified a cause or culprit. Most of the incidents were accompanied by bizarre, unexplained sounds that initially led US investigators to suspect a sonic attack.
Asked about the latest incidents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the US had not formally raised the matter with Beijing.
“If the US makes formal contact with us, China will continue necessary investigations in an earnest and responsible manner and maintain close communication and co-operation with the US,” Hua said at a regularly scheduled news conference.
China earlier said it had looked into the case announced last month but came up with no clues about the cause of the symptoms.
A US official, who wasn’t authorised to discuss the situation publicly and requested anonymity, said the evacuated American government workers were being brought from China for testing to the University of Pennsylvania. That’s where doctors have been treating and studying patients previously evacuated from the US Embassy in Havana.
The preliminary findings of the medical reports on the 24 personnel affected in Cuba showed they had sensory and memory problems similar to the brain dysfunction seen with concussions.