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Nelson Mandela still suffering from fluid buildup in lungs; South Africa denies report

The 94-year-old former president of South Africa was hospitalized nearly a week ago for a recurrence of pneumonia. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

Nelson Mandela continues to experience a problem with fluid buildup in his lungs and is being treated for pneumonia with oral medication, sources told NBC News on Tuesday.

The 94-year-old human-rights icon and former South Africa president was admitted to hospital late on Wednesday after the recurrence of a lung infection that has dogged him since December.

However, a South African government spokesman denied the report that fluid buildup continues to be a problem, saying the former president is breathing without difficult after being treated.

Earlier, relatives visited the anti-apartheid campaigner in the hospital, the country’s presidency said.

statement, issued Monday, said there had been “no significant change in his condition” since Sunday night.


View images of civil rights leader Nelson Mandela, who went from anti-apartheid activist to prisoner to South Africa's first black president.

“He spent part of Family Day [a public holiday in South Africa] today with some members of his family, who appreciate the support they have been receiving from the public,” it added.

NBC News health expert Dr. Nancy Snyderman said pneumonia and fluid buildup in the lungs was a common problem in those of Mandela’s age.

She added that the tuberculosis Mandela suffered during his imprisonment was significant.

“It means his lungs are scarred, less spongy and absorbent, and therefore less able to rid themselves of fluid,” she said.

NBC News' Charlayne Hunter-Gault contributed to this report.


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