US pulls 2 more from Cuba amid new potential health cases

US pulls 2 more from Cuba amid new potential health cases

Cuba's foreign ministry said Sunday that it has not uncovered the cause of mysterious health symptoms that affected an official of the USA embassy in Havana last month and characterized the United States' decision to withdraw personnel posted there as "politically motivated".

Two other officials said that the victims brought for examination at the University of Pennsylvania, which doctors studied the cases past year in Cuba and the new U.S. Consulate in China.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, Global Affairs Canada Spokesperson John Babcock said they're aware of the alert issued by the U.S. State Department and that they're working to determine if any Canadian diplomats have also been affected by the reported ailments.

A USA medical team has been screening more personnel and their family members who work in Guangzhou this week in order to determine who may have been affected.

The Penn team, which published its Cuba findings February in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was not able to prove what caused the symptoms in those patients. The Cuban government denied involvement in the attacks and the State Department sent more than 60 percent of Americans working at the USA embassy there home.

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

Global Affairs Canada is working to determine if any Canadian diplomats in southern China have been affected by a mysterious ailment that has already sickened a number of American diplomats and bears similarities to the unexplained illness suffered by Canadian and US government workers in Cuba.

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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 alert urged Americans to seek medical help in the event they suffered any "unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena, or other health concerns".

Asked about the latest incidents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the US had not formally raised the matter with Beijing.

Earlier this week, a number of U.S. personnel in China have been sent back to Washington for further health screenings after concerns over reports of mysterious acoustic incidents similar to the Cuba "sonic attacks", CNN reported.

The cases come at a sensitive time in relations between the United States and China, with the two nations locked in negotiations aimed at preventing a trade war and tensions over Beijing's claims to the South China Sea.

Security guards outside the Guangzhou consulate on Thursday told reporters to leave the area and not attempt to talk to consulate staff.

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