The United States State Department is sending several government officials to Penn for testing after they suffered mysterious neurological symptoms at their posts in China, according to the New York Times.
The evacuation occured a few weeks after the State Department disclosed on May 23 that a U.S. government employee stationed in Guangzhou reported experiencing "vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure," NPR reported.
The New York Times said that an employee evacuated from Guangzhou on June 6 likened the sounds he experienced to "marbles rolling around a metal funnel."
Several other American workers at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou have reported similar symptoms, but the exact number of people who exhibited symptoms or are medically treated are unclear, as stated in the New York Times.
The injuries have been likened to those that 24 U.S. officials in Cuba suffered in 2016. The symptoms, which allegedly resemble the results of a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion, include sharp ear pain, dull headaches, and extreme fatigue, according to the New York Times.
“The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the New York Times reported.
The evacuated American officials from Cuba were also sent to Penn for testing, according to NPR. The researchers, led by professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Randel Swanson, concluded that the former employees "appeared to have sustained injury to widespread brain networks without an associated history of head trauma."
The study was published in Journal of the American Medical Association.
In October 2017, President Donald Trump expelled 15 Cuban diplomats "due to Cuba's failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats," then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement reported by the Washington Post.
No action has been taken against Chinese officials in response to the latest string of mysterious symptoms in Guangzhou.
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