2 More US Gov't Employees Suffer Brain Damage in South China

By Matthew Bossons, June 7, 2018

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Two more American citizens were evacuated from Guangzhou on Wednesday after suffering from ‘neurological symptoms,’ according to a report by the New York Times. The story identifies Mark A. Lenzi, a US consulate security engineering officer, and his wife as the two illness-stricken Americans. The couple left China yesterday evening with their two children. 

Additionally, an unidentified diplomat living in an “upscale building” near the US Consulate General in Guangzhou has reported similar symptoms. 

The news comes just weeks after the US Consulate General in Guangzhou issued a health alert to Americans in China stating that a US government employee in Guangzhou had experienced abnormal "sound and pressure perception." The individual, who was not identified, was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury and evacuated.

READ MORE: Brain Damage to US Government Worker in China Triggers Official Alert

Mild traumatic brain injury can manifest itself in a number of ways, according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, including "headaches, sleep disruptions, dizziness, nausea, visual disturbances, photophobia, and phonophobia."

A number of these symptoms – nausea, headaches and insomnia – were reported by Mr. Lenzi and his partner, according to the New York Times. The couple also heard ‘odd noises’ on several occasions, although they did not ‘connect the dots,’ so to speak, until after last month’s consulate alert. (The NYT has described the auditory disturbances experienced by Mr. Lenzi as sounding like “marbles rolling around a metal funnel”).

Mr. Lenzi and his family reportedly lived in the same Tianhe District apartment complex as the previous government worker who was evacuated. The trendy residential area, The Canton Place, is located near Liede Metro Station and is surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries and fitness centers.  

The Canton Place in Tianhe District

It’s unclear what exactly is causing US government workers in Guangzhou to fall ill, but comparisons have been drawn to alleged ‘sonic attacks’ that occurred in Cuba last year.

Beginning in late 2016 and carrying on in 2017, diplomats in Havana began reporting physical discomfort, with symptoms including deafness, dizziness and headaches, among others. The US has claimed the affected individuals were targets of a 'sonic attack,' according to Global Times, while the Cuban government has denied any involvement and dubbed the matter 'science fiction.'

"The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba," said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month, according to the New York Times.

In addition to a ‘sonic attack,’ a number of other theories have been posed, including toxins, devices that unintentionally produce harmful sounds and mass hysteria, according to Guancha.cn

In a recent statement, Pompeo trumpeted the creation of a ‘health care task force’ to study the ongoing and mysterious health issues that have affected some American government employees and their families working overseas.

State Department doctors reportedly arrived in Guangzhou on May 31, and, according to an unnamed senior American official cited by the New York Times, a substantial portion of the approximately 170 government employees in the city have had or will soon undergo testing. 

State-run newspaper Global Times has commented that the US investigation into the case needs to be objective. The publication also stated that it believes this matter can be solved by the governments of both China and the US in a pragmatic manner. 

[Cover image via Wikimedia

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