USA employee suffers brain injury in China after 'abnormal sounds'

US gov't worker reports

"A U.S. government employee in China recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure", the notice said.

It says it also didn't know of any other similar incidents in China, but was taking the reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China about it.

The embassy said it was not aware of any similar symptoms elsewhere in China, within or outside of the diplomatic community. It didn't further identify the person with the symptoms or say when they had been detected.

CNN has reached out to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs but has not yet received a response on this matter. The mployee was sent back to the United States for assessment. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", the recommendation said.

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. That is the same clinical finding that doctors treating the Cuba patients at the University of Philadelphia have found in those patients.

For most the symptoms occurred around May 2017, but they were first reported in late 2016. The worker was sent to the US for additional testing.

The spokeswoman at the US Embassy in Beijing told CNN the State Department was taking the incident "very seriously" and was working to determine the cause and impact of it. Ambassador Terry Branstad led the session in Beijing.

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The People's Republic of China flag and the U.S. Stars and Stripes fly.

China-US relations have been strained recently, with the threat of a trade war looming.

Around November 2016, United States diplomats based in Cuba started to complain of odd ailments, including dizziness, nausea and hearing problems.

Pompeo said Wednesday that he expects the results of an independent investigation into the Cuban incidents by the middle of next week.

At a congressional hearing in January, US officials detailed how personnel came to experience a variety of symptoms including sharp ear pain, headaches, ringing in one ear, vertigo, disorientation, attention issues and signs consistent with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.

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.

The U.S. a year ago made a decision to withdraw a large number of embassy staff from the country after diplomats stationed there complained of symptoms like hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, visual difficulties, headaches and fatigue.

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