A US government employee in southern China reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure, the State Department said Wednesday, recalling similar experiences among American diplomats in Cuba who later fell ill.
Meanwhile, the US State Department stated that the US consulate worker in southern China that had earlier reported symptoms similar to those of mild brain injury and head concussion returned to the US for further examination.
The employee, who was stationed in Guangzhou, fell sick and was later diagnosed with a condition that resembled the so-called "sonic attacks" on US diplomats in Cuba past year. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present".
Though the State Department has not linked this case to any other incident, news of unusual symptoms hitting US government employees overseas will no doubt draw comparison to a rash of incidents with USA and Canadian diplomats working in Cuba.
"The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event", it added.
A spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing confirmed to CBS News that from late 2017 through April 2018, a U.S. government employee assigned to the Guangzhou Consulate reported "a variety of physical symptoms".
"The unique circumstances of these patients and the consistency of the clinical manifestations raised concern for a novel mechanism of a possible acquired brain injury from a directional exposure of undetermined etiology", a study about the victims in Cuba concluded.More news: Microsoft announces the Surface Hub 2 with 50.5-inch display
"We can not at this time connect it with what happened in Havana but we are investigating all possibilities", a U.S. Embassy official in Beijing told AFP on the condition of anonymity.
In Cuba previous year, the US disclosed that 24 diplomats and their family members had fallen victim to an unsolved mysterious attack that left them with injuries resembling brain trauma.
The suspected "sonic attack" has been linked to "medically similar" episodes experienced by United States government staff in communist Cuba in late 2016.
Around November 2016, United States diplomats based in Cuba started to complain of odd ailments, including dizziness, nausea and hearing problems.
Although details on the Guangzhou employee's condition is unclear, Jinnie Lee, a USA embassy spokeswoman in Beijing confirmed that the staffer had experienced a number of physical health symptoms over the past year, reported the Washington Post.
Staff there reported symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, fatigue and cognitive issues, though Cuban officials dismissed the idea of acoustic strikes as "science fiction" and accused Washington of slander.
China's Foreign Ministry are investigating the incident in Guangzhou but is yet to comment.