Obama briefed on US MERS cases

AFP , Tuesday 13 May 2014

President Barack Obama (Photo: AP)

President Barack Obama has been briefed by his top advisors after a second case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS) was discovered on US soil, the White House said Tuesday.

"The president has been briefed on this development ... Our team is watching it closely," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Health authorities said on Monday that a second cause of the virus was discovered in a healthcare worker who lives and works in Saudi Arabia, who traveled by plane on May 1 from Jeddah to London, then to Boston, Atlanta, and Orlando.

The patient, whose name and gender were not released, is in a Florida hospital and doing well, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The United States announced its first case of the virus last week, in a healthcare worker who had traveled to Riyadh at the end of April. He was released from hospital on Saturday and is considered fully recovered.

Carney said the White House was working, through Obama's top Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, with the CDC and Florida health authorities.

MERS causes fever, cough and shortness of breath, and can be lethal particularly among older people and those with pre-existing health problems.

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