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Mysterious health problems forced evacuation of some employees from an U.S. consulate in China

The U.S. State Department evacuated back in the country a number of American employees from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, one of five consulates the U.S. operates in China, after screenings showed they may have been affected by mysterious health problems similar to what diplomats experienced in Cuba.

A department spokesperson said the agency was not specifying the exact number of people evacuated, saying it was due to medical privacy concerns. Similar „sonic attacks" occurred, described as "vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure." The symptoms, which first appeared in late 2016 in Havana, where 24 persons were affected, include "dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping." China's government said Thursday that it investigated and could not find anything to cause the described symptoms.

US-Consulate
The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou

The foreign ministry said it takes its obligation to protect foreign diplomats seriously and is open to conducting further investigations if requested by the U.S. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a task force to respond to the "unexplained health incidents." “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,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert of the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday. The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, in southern China, officially opened in 1979.

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