Pope may be Battling Complication of prior Illness, Experts Say

NEW YORK(AP)_ Medical experts in the United States are voicing concern over the pope's health.

They speculate that Pope John Paul may be battling an infection that arose as a complication of the flu or flu-like illness he was treated for earlier this month.

They say people don't get a relapse of flu itself but flu can lead to a bacterial infection such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

A geriatrics specialist at the University of Rochester and a Vanderbilt University influenza expert both speculate that the pope may be suffering from congestive heart failure. That's a treatable condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

John Paul, who is 84, has slumped posture and Parkinson's disease.

The geriatrics specialist, Doctor William Hall, says a new round of illness after flu in an elderly person is "not a good sign" because each new illness takes its toll. The flu expert, Doctor William Schaffner, says the pope's reported symptoms are "noteworthy and serious."

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