Beijing, May 23: The US State Department on Wednesday warned Americans in China of possible sonic attack after a government employee suffered brain injury caused by sound. The employee reported unusual “sensations of sound and pressure” and was later diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury. The incident is reminiscent of a wave of so-called “sonic attacks” on US diplomats in Cuba.
“While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present,” US Embassy in Beijing said issuing a health alert. While no other case had been reported from China, the US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event.
The alert was issued after details emerged that a US government employee deployed in Guangzhou had reported “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure” between late 2017 through April 2018. The employee was sent back to the United States and diagnosed with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) on May 18. The Chinese government too has assured they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures, a State Department official told news agencies.
According to the State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, the United States will send a medical team to Guangzhou next week to conduct baseline medical evaluations of all employees who desire one. “The department is taking this incident very seriously and is working to determine the cause and impact of the incident,” said Nauert, as reported by Washington Post.
Last year, the US had withdrawn a large number of embassy staff from Cuba after diplomats stationed there complained of symptoms such as hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, visual difficulties, headaches and fatigue. Cuban investigators, however, had dismissed US suspicions of a sonic attack as “science fiction.”