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Two more U.S. diplomats in China hit by mysterious illness

08 June 2018

The diplomats were flown out by the State Department, which also sent in a medical team to evaluate other employees at the American Consulate along with their families, who may be experiencing similar symptoms, according to The New York Times.

Heather Nauert, the State Department's spokeswoman, said "several" consulate employees had returned to the United States from China for further evaluation after they were screened as part of a task force Secretary of State Mike Pompeo created last month.

An employee at the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou and his family have reportedly been evacuated from China upon suffering neurological symptoms after hearing odd sounds.

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"We are working to figure out what took place, both in Havana and now in China as well", he said.

The US said its officials were the victims of "specific attacks", but has not yet blamed anyone for being responsible.

In the Cuba episode a year ago, 21 people fell ill with injuries including hearing loss, cognitive difficulties and sleep problems in what the State Department called an "attack". Lenzi, his wife, who also reportedly complained of hearing weird noises in their apartment, and their two children departed for the U.S. on Wednesday evening.

An employee first fell sick last month in China, and now another employee, his wife and their two children were evacuated after the adults showed signs of neurological symptoms.

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Lenzi also contends that his security clearance was frozen after he attempted to bring attention to the issue, effectively barring him from work at the consulate, and that he is now calling for the resignation of the US ambassador to China, who is based in Beijing.

She said the employee was sent to the United States for further evaluation, and on May 18, officials learned that the clinical findings of this evaluation were similar to "what might be seen in a patient with a head concussion or mild traumatic brain injury". Canada said the 10 continued to show unexplained brain symptoms and that "medical information raised concerns for a new type of a possible acquired brain injury". The U.S. diplomatic staff in Havana was reduced, and 15 Cuban diplomats were expelled from the U.S. Despite the hazy description, the agency said it took the report seriously and warned anyone experiencing similar symptoms to consult with a doctor. 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.

US doctors later diagnosed that first employee, who the State Department evacuated from the Guangzhou-based consulate in April, with brain trauma.

It's also the only USA diplomatic installation in China authorized to process immigrant visas and handle adoptions.

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Two more U.S. diplomats in China hit by mysterious illness