USA screens more staff in China over mystery health issues

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A US State Department official has confirmed with Sputnik that two individuals from the US Embassy in Cuba are undergoing medical evaluations and may possibly be new cases in a string of mysterious illnesses that have struck diplomats at the diplomatic facility.

That word comes from three US officials.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said "a number of individuals" had been brought to the US but didn't say how many were affected or evacuated.

A previous statement in May only mentioned the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou as the location for the health alert, though it was sent to USA citizens throughout the country. Unexplained sounds and vibrations that accompanied the symptoms initially led investigators to suspect a sonic weapon, although an interim Federal Bureau of Investigation report in January said no evidence had been uncovered that sound waves could have damaged the Americans' health, the AP reported.

On June 6, the US government said that it had brought a group of people from that consulate back to the United States for further evaluation of their symptoms, and that it was offering screening to anyone at the USA embassy in Beijing or other consulates in China who requested it.

The message urges people to "not attempt to locate the source of any unidentified auditory sensation" and instead move to a different location.

Those affected have suffered a range of symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, fatigue, cognitive issues and sleep loss.

The incidents have raised fears the unexplained issues that started in Cuba in 2016 have expanded to other countries.

"The Ministry of Foreign Relations reiterates that no evidence of the alleged incidents has been presented, and maintains its unwavering commitment to cooperate with USA authorities", Cuba's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Cuba incidents sparked concerns that the employees had been targeted with some novel sort of sonic attack, and similar reports this week in Guangzhou, China, have prompted several evacuations of diplomats and family members. The U.S. government has deemed those incidents "specific attacks" on American workers but hasn't publicly identified a cause or culprit. It is also the only US diplomatic installation in China authorized to process immigrant visas and handle adoptions. The Canadian government followed suit in April and directed the families of diplomatic staff in Cuba to return home.

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