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U.S. Diplomats Evacuated in China as Medical Mystery Grows

June 7, 2018

Among those who reported symptoms was Mr. Lenzi. In an email sent to the entire staff of the consulate, he complained that the first employee was evacuated in April, but that no one was told of the health concerns until a month later — after doctors in the United States had found evidence of brain trauma. The initial health alert, he said in an interview, suggested it was an isolated case. “They knew full well it wasn’t,” he said.

The consulate, which opened in 2013, is a state-of-the-art building designed to withstand electronic eavesdropping and other security and intelligence threats.

In an interview before leaving China, Mr. Lenzi said that he had lived in the same apartment tower as the officer evacuated in April. It is one of several high-rise buildings in The Canton Place, a modern complex built around a plaza and bordered by restaurants, cafes and galleries. Another diplomat who reported symptoms was at a different upscale building near the consulate.

Mr. Lenzi said that over the past year he and his wife had experienced similar physical symptoms, including headaches, sleeplessness and nausea, and on three or four occasions they heard odd noises, though they did not put them together until the disclosures last month.

Even if people are evacuated for further tests, that does not necessarily mean that they have suffered injuries or illnesses, the officials emphasized. Only 25 percent of those evacuated from Cuba, for example, were later found to have health problems.