An advance security staffer who attended a dinner with President Barack Obama in Mexico on April 16 has been diagnosed with a flu that is probably swine flu. He has passed The Oink to his wife, his son and his nephew. The White House says the president has not had any symptoms, however.
The while house issued a health advisory to anyone who traveled on the the president’s trip to Mexico. The staffer was part of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s staff. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he did not work closely with Obama and didn’t fly on the terror plane Air Force One. He is healthy enough to be back at work at the Energy Department.
The staffer was at a dinner Obama attended with Mexican officials April 16. The aide “was asked specifically if he ever came within six feet of the president, and the answer to that was ‘No,’ ” Gibbs said. Of course, that doesn’t mean that whoever gave the staffer swine flu didn’t come within six feet of the Prez.
The disclosure of the likely flu case in the president’s entourage was startling because Gibbs said earlier this week that White House physicians believed the flu had posed no risk at all to Obama when he visited Mexico. “The doctors have informed me… that the President’s health was never in any danger,” Gibbs said Monday.
Also on Monday, Gibbs had said no one travelling with the president “in either governmental or press capacity has shown any symptoms that would denote cause for any concern.”
Gibbs said Thursday that Chu’s aide developed a fever while in Mexico and that several of the aide’s relatives subsequently fell ill with flu-like symptoms. The aide has not tested positive for swine flu, probably because so much time has elapsed, but tests on his three relatives came back as “probable” cases on Tuesday, Gibbs said.