Administration Aide Likely Contracted H1N1 Flu

(AP/CDC)
At his press briefing this afternoon, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced that "an individual who traveled to Mexico City to support the U.S. delegation that accompanied the president to Mexico City came down with flu-like symptoms associated with his work in Mexico."

"Three members of the individual's family tested positive for Type A influenza, and tests are currently underway to determine if they contracted the 2009 H1N1 influenza strain," Gibbs said. "Individual family members suffered mild to moderate symptoms, received no medication, were not hospitalized, and have recovered."

Gibbs did not definitively say that the individual had H1N1 (or swine) flu, but said because it was a possibility, the White House "felt the need to disclose the probability of this."

The White House did not name the individual, but said he "was a lead advance for the security detail of Energy Secretary [Steven] Chu." He arrived in Mexico April 13th in advance of Chu, became sick on the 16th and returned to the U.S. on the 18th. The president arrived in Mexico on the 16th.

Gibbs said the individual did not fly on Air Force One and "was asked specifically if he ever came within six feet of the president, and the answer to that was no." He is now fine and has returned to work. Gibbs said both President Obama and Chu have shown no symptoms of the disease.

"Let's understand that we are now almost twice the limit removed from a symptomatic window that one would see for incubation," he said. "So anybody that went on the trip, anybody that went in support of the trip, it is highly, highly, highly unlikely that" they now have the disease.

The individual in question tested negative for the disease, but Gibbs said that was "likely because so much time had elapsed since the onset of his own symptoms that they would not show up in the test." He attended a dinner with the president in Mexico but did not come close to him, according to Gibbs.

The flu has killed 176 people in Mexico, and there are 94 confirmed cases in 11 states in the United States.

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