Carney confirms Obama 'has been briefed' on MERS outbreak

 

President Obama has been briefed about the outbreak of the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome, the White House said Tuesday, one day after a Florida health worker became the second confirmed case within the United States.

"The president has been briefed on this development," said White House press secretary Jay Carney. "The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is taking the current situation very seriously and is working in close coordination with local authorities."

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"It is something of the nature that would be briefed to the president and has been briefed to the president," he added.

At a press conference Tuesday, the CDC said it was notifying hundreds of people who might have come into contact with the worker who had contracted the virus during a series of plane flights.

There is no vaccine for MERS. The virus kills more than a quarter of those who catch it. 

The virus first appeared in 2012 and was first observed in the U.S. in Indiana earlier this spring. As with the Florida case, the victim there had traveled to Saudi Arabia.

Officials have insisted that the risk of infection to the general public remains low.