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Flu-stricken Pope lies low


Pope John Paul II has influenza, forcing him to cancel scheduled audiences for health reasons for the first time in more than a year, his spokesman has said.

The 84 year old came down with the illness on Sunday and doctors advised that he cut back on his activities, according to Dr Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

"He has joined the more than a million Italians who have come down with the flu," Navarro-Valls told The Associated Press.

Asked by Vatican Radio if it was a mild case, Navarro-Valls said "of course," adding that symptoms were evident during his regular noon appearance Sunday in his apartment window overlooking St. Peter's Square.

Navarro-Valls expressed caution, however, about when John Paul would resume his regular activities.

"We'll see," he told the radio. "As always with influenza, it is a day-to-day question."

There appeared to be no particular alarm in the Vatican City enclave. Officials went about business as usual while Vatican Radio was quick to issue its reassuring report.

SOURCE
Pope Sidelined By Flu (Associated Press/CBS 31/1/05)

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32 Feb 2005