A medical mystery grows as U.S. consulate workers in China fall ill

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     MYSTERIOUS US embassy building with the US flag raised over it in Havana

The New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing officials, that USA diplomatic staff and their families in the southern Chinese city have been undergoing checks administered by a team of medics who were dispatched to China specifically for that objective.

Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing told The Washington Post in May that the Chinese government "has assured us they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures".

A United States official said the evacuated Americans are being brought for testing to the University of Pennsylvania.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China had "said all the right things and have demonstrated their willingness to help us identify the vector which led to this medical incident".

A health alert has been issued by the United States embassy in Guangzhou, warning Americans living or working in China to take action if "unusual sounds or piercing noises" are heard.

Cuba has denied targeting embassy staff, and the U.S. has not blamed the country's government for the suspected attacks.

The American government worker who was removed from China earlier reported "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure".

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It is unclear how many of them are exhibiting symptoms, but a State Department spokesman said on Wednesday evening that "a number of individuals" had been sent to the United States for further testing.

"If there's really a problem then the US side can directly contact the Chinese side and communicate, and China will continue to conscientiously investigate and coordinate with a responsible attitude", Hua said.

A USA medical team in Guangzhou was also screening more Americans on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

For months, American officials have been anxious that their diplomats have been subjected to targeted attacks involving odd sounds, leading to symptoms similar to those "following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury", the State Department said. A few months later, he - along with his wife and their young son - started experiencing headaches that would sometimes last several days.

The new cases broaden a medical mystery that began affecting American diplomats and their families in Cuba in 2016. More State Department employees have been evacuated. That's where doctors have been treating and studying patients evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

In 2017, 24 U.S. diplomats and their family members in Cuba fell victim to mysterious "attacks" that left them with injuries resembling brain trauma.

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