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Beijing Says It Doesn’t Have A Clue Why US Diplomats Are Suffering Brain Damage In Southern China

REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

A handful of Americans in China are now showing symptoms similar to those displayed by diplomats affected by suspected sonic attacks in Cuba in 2017, but no one seems to know why.

The Department of State evacuated U.S. consulate employee Mark Lenzi and his family from Guangzhou Wednesday. More diplomats are expected to be sent home in the coming days as U.S. medical teams screen Americans living in the area. Lenzi revealed that he first started hearing strange sounds in April 2017, and within months, he, his wife, and their three-year-old child were all experiencing excruciatingly painful headaches, along with other unusual neurological symptoms, The Washington Post reported. (RELATED: State Department Evacuates More Americans After Strange Sounds Trigger Mysterious Illnesses In China)

Lenzi’s neighbor, who he initially suspected was behind the noise, was the first American official to be evacuated in May after he was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury after experiencing “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure.” (RELATED: US Government Employee Suffers Brain Damage After Possible Sonic Attack In China)

Following the first evacuation, the Department of State issued a health alert instructing anyone with “concerns about symptoms or medical problems that developed during or after a stay in China” to “consult a medical professional.” Lenzi told reporters that he repeatedly heard a peculiar sound like marbles rolling across a wooden floor with static.

Those being evacuated from China are reportedly being brought to the University of Pennsylvania, where specialists have been treating and examining patients pulled out of the embassy in Cuba, where 24 diplomats and their families were negatively affected by what many suspect may be a targeted sonic attack on Americans.

While the U.S. is investigating the matter, which is alarmingly reminiscent of the health crisis in Havana in 2017, China is also looking into the situation, but so far it doesn’t have any answers.

“China and relevant authorities conducted an investigation and gave feedback to the United States,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing Thursday, adding, “We haven’t found the cause or clues that would lead to the situation mentioned by the United States.” She explained that Beijing will “maintain communication with the United States on this.”

The U.S. appears to be at a loss as well. The FBI has been thoroughly investigating the situation in Cuba for over a year, but the cause of the reported injuries remains unknown.

The State Department is doing everything it can to address the situation in China. “The safety and security of U.S. personnel and their families is our top priority,” department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on the issue Wednesday. A Health Incidents Task Force “will continue to address the unexplained health incidents that have affected U.S. government personnel and their family members stationed overseas.

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