Bush Morphs Into Monkey Before Stunned Press Corps. Doctors Blame New Primatial Influenza.
WASHINGTON, DC--In an astonishing turn of events, President Bush was struck by a new, highly virulent, primate flu while reading an afternoon statement to the Washington press corps.
Within seconds, the president transmogrified into a black and white colobus monkey. Reporters gasped. Photojournalists fired away.
"What?" Bush said.
Secret Service agents whisked the commander-in-chief away as the press corps erupted.
"I've never witnessed anything like it," said Helen Thomas, of Hearst News Service. "Though I had a poor vantage point, Bush suddenly sprouted fur and slumped a bit. He didn't appear to be in any pain, however."
After several minutes, a pale White House press secretary Scott McClellan came to the podium. "The president is okay," he announced. "He's resting. He's asked for fruit."
According to U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt, Bush is the first American to be infected by H4N1 primatial influenza, e.g. the "monkey flu."
"We didn't even know [this flu] existed until last week," says Leavitt. "Like the rest of the world, we have been so busy preparing to battle the lethal avian influenza (bird flu), which could kill millions of American citizens, that this one slipped in under the door."
World Health Organization officials say that the monkey flu has astonishing symptoms, yet is not fatal and easily cured with a ready vaccine. "President Bush was quickly treated," says Dr. Margaret Chan, assistant director-general for communicable diseases. "Though he won't regain his human form for another 48 hours, he can go about his work day."
Chan warned that others may not be so fortunate. "Similar to the avian influenza, the U.S does not have enough monkey flu vaccines to treat a potential panemic in America. We're seriously scrambling, these days."
After a short rest, the president was back on his feet and on route to a closed-door budget strategy session with cabinet members.
"It's business as usual here," affirmed vice-president Dick Cheney, in transit.