U.S. Evacuates Multiple Employees From Chinese Consulate Over Mysterious Illness

The U.S. Consulate building in Guangzhou in southern China pictured Thursday. More State Department employees have been evacuated.

Kelvin Chan/AP

The U.S. State Department has sent “a number of individuals” from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, back to the U.S. after screenings showed they may have been affected by mysterious health problems similar to what diplomats experienced in Cuba.

Two weeks ago, the agency said one government employee in Guangzhou experienced “vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure,” similar to the unexplained incidents — sometimes described as “sonic attacks” — that recently sickened staffers in Cuba.

The State Department says it sent a medical team to Guangzhou to screen any employees or family members who requested a test.

On Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the employees were sent to the U.S. for a “further evaluation and a comprehensive assessment of their symptoms and findings.”

A department spokesperson said the agency was not specifying the exact number of people evacuated, saying it was due to medical privacy concerns.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a task forceto respond to the “unexplained health incidents.”

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He said that as of now, 24 government employees or family members who worked in Cuba had confirmed symptoms “similar to those noted following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury.” The Guangzhou employee was found to have similar symptoms on May 16.

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