Pope John Paul II has a high fever: Vatican

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope John Paul II has a high fever caused by an infection in his urinary tract, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said, in the latest sign of the ailing pontiff's deteriorating health.

Despite his worsening health conditions, Sky Italia quoting Vatican sources said the pope would remain at the Vatican and not be hospitalized for the time being because he is too weak. The pope has been hospitalized twice since February 1.

Italian television stations reported that the pope had been given the last rites, but there was no confirmation of the reports.

"The Holy Father has been struck during the day by a high fever caused by an infection of the urinary tract," Navarro-Valls said in a statement.

"He is being treated with an appropriate therapy based on anti-biotics. His clinical state is being very closely controlled by the medical team of the Vatican which is treating him," it said.

Earlier, the Italian news agency ANSA said the Pope's health had worsened over the past few hours and that he had a high fever and low blood pressure.

On Thursday, a Vatican source said the 84-year-old Polish-born pontiff had lost 19 kilograms (42 pounds) in a few weeks and there is great concern over his chances of recovery after undergoing a throat operation on February 24.

The Pope also suffers from Parkinson's disease.

Italian news reports said John Paul II's personal doctor Renato Buzzonetti was at his bedside along with a team of doctors from Rome's Gemelli hospital, his personal secretary Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz and the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinial Angelo Sodano.

The Vatican admitted Wednesday that the pope's recovery from a throat operation was "slow" and that doctors had to place a nasal tube to feed the increasingly frail pontiff.

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