The United States has issued a health alert to Americans in China after reports of a "sonic attack" on one of its diplomatic staff.
The US State Department said the government employee suffered a mild traumatic brain injury after experiencing "abnormal" sensations of sound and pressure, similar to the wave of so-called "sonic attacks" on its diplomats in Cuba.
In a health alert issued on Wednesday, officials said an employee based in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou reported “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure.”
"The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event," the US consulate said in an email to American citizens.
The notification said the department was not aware of any other cases inside or outside the diplomatic community.
But in an indication of how worried officials are, the US embassy in Beijing and all five US consulates in China held meetings yesterday to allow their staff to ask questions and raise concerns.
Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, told Congress yesterday: “The medical indications are very similar, and entirely consistent with, the medical indications that were taking place to Americans working in Cuba”.
Heather Nauert, the State Department's spokeswoman, announced the US will send a medical team to Guangzhou next week to conduct medical evaluations for any employees who request one.
“The department is taking this incident very seriously and is working to determine the cause and impact of the incident,” she said.
The incident has provoked fears of a repeat of a series of mysterious attacks on US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba last year which left them experiencing hearing loss, dizziness and headaches.
In September the US ordered more than half its government personnel out of Cuba, and warned Americans against visiting the country.
Is this the sound of US diplomats under 'sonic attack' in Cuba?https://t.co/6uXX8neAXR— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) October 12, 2017
Washington said that 24 diplomats and their family members had fallen victim to unsolved "specific attacks" that left them with injuries resembling brain trauma.
Canada later withdrew its officials from Cuba after they experienced similar symptoms.
Investigators suspected use of a "sonic weapon," but there has been no proof that was the cause.
In Cuba, the American victims had associated the onset of their symptoms with "unusual sounds or auditory sensations".
The alert from the US consulate in Guangzhou also told US Citizens: "While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present."
Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Beijing, said a government employee in Guangzhou reported a variety of physical symptoms from late 2017 to April 2018.
The employee returned to America for tests evaluation and treatment. On May 18, the embassy learned that the diagnosis was mild traumatic brain injury.
Ms Lee added that the Chinese government had “assured us they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures”.