- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2009

The White House said Thursday a man who works for the Obama administration potentially has swine flu and is one of the cases being investigated in Anne Arundel County, Md.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did not identify the man but said he may have contracted the virus while on an advance trip for President Obama’s visit to Mexico earlier this month. He did “lead advance for the security detail for Secretary of Energy [Steven] Chu” arrived in Mexico City on April 13 and has tested positive for Type-A influenza.

He said the man is undergoing tests to see if he contracted the swine flu.

Mr. Gibbs said the man and members of his family who had “mild to moderate symptoms” have recovered.

The man began to feel ill on April 16 and had a fever on April 17 when the president arrived in Mexico. The man returned to the United States April 18 flying on United Airlines to Dulles airport.

Mr. Gibbs said he does not have the flight number.

Mr. Gibbs said the man never flew on Air Force One, but attended the April 16 working dinner.

“He was asked if he ever came within 6 feet of the president and he said ‘No,’” Mr. Gibbs said. “He was not close enough to the president.”

Mr. Gibbs said the man visited his brother’s home and “likely” spread the influenza to his nephew. He also rode in a car with a co-worker, who showed flu-like symptoms but later tested negative for the virus.

On April 24 the man went to his family physician who did not prescribe antiviral drugs.

By April 25 the man, his wife and son went to an urgent care facility where they tested negative, but on Tuesday the man’s wife and son tested “probable” for the swine flu, which the government is calling H1N1.

Mr. Gibbs said the main is undergoing further testing by the CDC and stressed several times that all four who were exposed to the influenza have recovered.

The man has been cleared to go back to work, and Mr. Chu has not experienced any symptoms so he has not been tested.

“The same is true of the president,” Mr. Gibbs said.

Reporters pressed whether the president or other aides were at risk for getting the virus.

“We are now almost twice the limit removed from a symptomatic window that one would see for incubation,” Mr. Gibbs said, adding “It is highly highly highly unlikely” anyone else will be at risk.

“If you haven’t felt any symptoms there’s no need for tests,” he said.

Mr. Gibbs said the administration’s doctors are “piecing together” with a series of phone calls whether any other advance staffers may have been exposed.

He said “approximately 10” people went to the doctors who “may have experienced something approximating a flu-like symptom,” but added, “nobody else that we know of is experiencing these symptoms or has gotten sick.”

Mr. Gibbs did not have details on how the passengers on the United flight would be notified or if they could have been exposed, but told reporters, “We’ll do everything in our power to ensure what can be done to alert them is done.”

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