President Hugo Chavez is suffering from a new, severe respiratory infection following cancer surgery, the Venezuelan government has said.
Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Hugo Chavez’s condition continued to be very delicate.
Hugo Chavez, 58, returned to Venezuela last month after being treated for cancer in Cuba, but has not appeared in public since.
Many Venezuelans have been demanding full details about his health.
Ernesto Villegas read out the latest brief update on national television.
Speaking from the Caracas military hospital where Hugo Chavez is being treated, Ernesto Villegas said: “Today there is a worsening of respiratory function.”
He said Hugo Chavez was undergoing “intensive chemotherapy, as well as complementary treatments”.
“The commander-president remains clinging to Christ and to life, conscious of the difficulties that he is facing, and complying strictly with the programme designed by his medical team,” Ernesto Villegas said.
President Hugo Chavez is suffering from a new, severe respiratory infection following cancer surgery
Hugo Chavez, who has been in office for 14 years, is believed to have cancer in his pelvic area, but his exact illness has never been disclosed.
The resident announced in June 2011 that he had cancer and has undergone four operations since then, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Hugo Chavez was re-elected for another six-year term in October 2012, but the Supreme Court ruled that his swearing-in on January 10 could be delayed because of his illness.
At the weekend, hundreds of Venezuelan students and opposition members marched in Caracas demanding full details about Hugo Chavez’s health.
He is said to be taking decisions about the country from the hospital bed but there have been mixed messages from officials on his condition.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday that President Hugo Chavez was still having chemotherapy.
On Thursday, Nicolas Maduro had gone on TV to say Hugo Chavez was battling for his life.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is still suffering breathing problems after returning from Cuba where he was treated for cancer, officials say.
Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Hugo Chavez was continuing to receive treatment at a military hospital in Caracas.
It was the first official communiqué on the president’s health since he returned to Venezuela on Monday.
Hugo Chavez went to Havana for surgery on December 11.
It was his fourth operation in an 18-month period for cancer, which was first diagnosed in mid-2011.
Hugo Chavez is said to have suffered a severe respiratory infection following the latest surgery.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is still suffering breathing problems after returning from Cuba where he was treated for cancer
“The breathing insufficiency that emerged post-operation persists, and the tendency has not been favorable, so it is still being treated,” Ernesto Villegas said in a televised statement.
President Hugo Chavez, in office for 14 years, was re-elected for another six-year term in October 2012, but his swearing-in was delayed because of his illness.
Doubts remain about whether his health will allow him to return to active politics.
Elton John has been hospitalized with a serious respiratory infection.
Elton John, 65, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles around 6:00 a.m. yesterday morning, according to TMZ.
Doctors ordered the star to rest for seven days, forcing him to cancel four concerts of his Million Dollar Piano residency at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace scheduled for the weekend.
Elton John has been hospitalized with a serious respiratory infection
Elton John was told he needed “complete rest and antibiotic treatment to prevent damage”.
After undergoing a series of tests, he is said to have been released from hospital.
Sir Elton John tells TMZ: “It feels strange not to be able to perform these Million Dollar Piano concerts at the Colosseum.
“I love performing the show and I will be thrilled when we return to the Colosseum in October to complete the 11 concerts.”
The singer added: “All I can say to the fans is <<sorry I can’t be with you>>.”
Elton John was previously forced to cancel two concerts in February, after he came down with food poisoning.
In October 2011, Elton John celebrated performing his 3000th show in Las Vegas, after which he celebrated with the audience and a large cake with EJ3K written on it.
Elton John’s Million Dollar Piano shows are named after the piano he uses, which was especially built for him by manufacturer Yamaha over four years and cost a reported $1 million to produce.
A genetic flaw may explain why some people get more ill with flu than others, say scientists.
Published in Nature, the research found that a variant of the IFITM3 gene was much more common in people hospitalized for flu than in the general population.
It controls a malformed protein, which makes cells more susceptible to viral infection.
Experts said those with the flaw could be given the flu jab, like other at-risk groups.
Researchers removed the gene from mice. They found that when they developed flu, their symptoms were much worse than those seen in mice with the gene.
Evidence from genetic databases covering thousands of people showed the flawed version of the gene is present in around one in 400 people.
The scientists, who came from the UK and US, then sequenced the IFITM3 genes of 53 patients who were in hospital with flu.
Three were found to have the variant – a rate of one in 20.
The researchers say these findings now need to be replicated in bigger studies. And they add it is probably only part of the genetic jigsaw that determines a person’s response to flu.
A genetic flaw may explain why some people get more ill with flu than others, say scientists
Professor Paul Kellam of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, who co-led the research, said: “At the moment, if someone is in a more vulnerable group because of co-morbidity [another health problem], they would be offered the flu vaccine.
“This is the idea here.”
But he said having this variant would not make any difference to how people were treated.
Prof. Paul Kellam added: “Our research is important for people who have this variant as we predict their immune defences could be weakened to some virus infections.
“Ultimately as we learn more about the genetics of susceptibility to viruses, then people can take informed precautions, such as vaccination to prevent infection.”
Professor Peter Openshaw, director of the Centre for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College London, said: “This new discovery is the first clue from our detailed study of the devastating effects of flu in hospitalized patients.
“It vindicates our conviction that there is something unusual about these patients.”
Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: “During the recent swine flu pandemic, many people found it remarkable that the same virus could provoke only mild symptoms in most people, while, more rarely, threatening the lives of others.
“This discovery points to a piece of the explanation: genetic variations affect the way in which different people respond to infection.
“This important research adds to a growing scientific understanding that genetic factors affect the course of disease in more than one way. Genetic variations in a virus can increase its virulence, but genetic variations in that virus’s host – us – matter greatly as well.”