US evacuates China staffers as illness mystery deepens

U.S. evacuates China staffers as illness mystery deepens

U.S. evacuates China staffers as illness mystery deepens

Unexplained sounds and vibrations that accompanied the symptoms initially led investigators to suspect a sonic weapon, although an interim Federal Bureau of Investigation report in January said no evidence had been uncovered that sound waves could have damaged the Americans' health, the AP reported.

The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday it has brought a group of diplomats home from Guangzhou, China, over concern they were suffering from a mysterious malady that resembles a brain injury and has already affected U.S. personnel in Cuba. The AP reported that out of the approximately 170 American staffers in the consulate, 150 have undergone the examinations.

The evacuated Americans have been transferred to the same facility at the University of Pennsylvania where the government workers in Cuba were sent, an unnamed USA official told The Associated Press.

Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, recalled that from the first report on the mysterious sonic affection, studies were carried on and conclusions were presented to USA authorities.

The statement said Cuba was informed of one case in late May where "a functionary of the (U.S.) embassy on the 27th of the same month had reported health symptoms as a result of "undefined sounds" in her residence". The U.S.is also examining new potential cases from a U.S. consulate in China.

The Penn team said the patients from Cuba experienced persistent disability though rehabilitation therapy customized for them seemed to help.

The New York Times said that an employee evacuated from Guangzhou on June 6 likened the sounds he experienced to "marbles rolling around a metal funnel".

Guangzhou is one of the most important of the USA diplomatic outposts in the country.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert also said at the time that the Chinese government assured the State Department that it is investigating the symptoms felt by the US government employee. The consulate opened months after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington in 1979 and moved to its new purpose-built facility in 2013.

"We are continuing to work with the Department of State to evaluate and treat personnel who have reported audible phenomena experiences", according to a health system statement.

People working in The Canton Place complex, a few kilometers (miles) from the consulate, said they were just hearing about the incidents, reflecting a lack of coverage in China's entirely state-controlled media.

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