Friday, 19 October, 2018

U.S. embassy issues new alert over mystery illness

U.S. embassy issues new alert over mystery illness U.S. embassy issues new alert over mystery illness
Lisa Bryan | 10 June, 2018, 08:21

An undated photo provided by Mark Lenzi shows the U.S. State Department employee in Guangzhou, China.

The evacuations followed medical testing that revealed the workers might have been affected by unexplained health incidents that have already hurt USA personnel in Cuba.

USA citizens living in China received a second alert on Friday over the unexplained health issues that prompted the evacuation of a number of government employees working at a consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou.

The most recent evacuations followed medical testing that revealed they might have been affected.

A US medical team has been screening more personnel and their family members who work in Guangzhou this week in order to determine who may have been affected.

President Trump, Tillerson, and State Department officials have said they believe the Cuban government knows what occurred and who is responsible.

Beginning in 2016, at least 10 Canadian workers and 24 U.S. Embassy employees working in Havana, Cuba showed mysterious health symptoms related to unexplained sounds. The U.S. government has deemed those incidents "specific attacks" on American workers but hasn't publicly identified a cause or culprit. Symptoms included dizziness, headaches and an inability to concentrate.

Security guards outside the Guangzhou consulate on Thursday told reporters to leave the area and not to try to talk to consulate staff.

"The embassy will continue to operate with the minimum personnel necessary to perform core diplomatic and consular functions, similar to the level of emergency staffing maintained during ordered departure", the State Department said in a statement.

The Chinese government, which has conducted its own investigation, said late last month that preliminary findings did not yield any clues to determine the cause of the ailment afflicting the first American employee.


A new medical mystery affecting US diplomatic workers, this time in China, is deepening.

Lenzi's flat was in one of several high-rise buildings in The Canton Place, which features restaurants and galleries spaced around a central plaza. One other diplomat who reported signs was at a distinct upscale constructing close to the consulate, the paper mentioned.

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that the individuals tested are being brought to the University of Pennsylvania, where the victims of the Havana attacks were also studied and treated.

In September, the State Department issued a health warning to USA citizens in Cuba after at least 21 diplomats fell ill with similar symptoms after hearing unusual sounds.

The Penn team said that the patients from Cuba experienced persistent disability, though rehabilitation therapy customised for them seemed to help.

"The health, safety and security of our diplomatic staff and their families overseas is our top priority", the statement says.

The State Department has previously said brain injuries suffered by 24 USA officials and family members posted in Havana could have been the result of a "health attack", perhaps from an unidentified secret weapon.

As part of its response, the United States also expelled 17 Cuban diplomats from Washington, and issued a travel alert for US visitors to the island. The Guangzhou consulate opened months after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington in 1979 and moved to its new purpose-built facility in 2013.

It serves 4 southern provinces with a mixed inhabitants of greater than 204 million and processes greater than 1 million visa functions of all kinds yearly.

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