Mandela Stays in Hospital After Fluid Drained From Lung

Nelson Mandela’s condition didn’t change significantly as he spent part of his fifth day in the hospital with his family, the office of South African President Jacob Zuma said.

Mandela’s family appreciates “the support they have been receiving from the public,” the office said today in a statement on its website.

South Africa’s first black leader is being treated for pneumonia at a hospital in the capital, Pretoria. Doctors drained excess fluid from around his lungs, Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj said over the weekend.

Mandela’s condition improved yesterday and he had a “restful day,” Zuma’s office said. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, 94, was breathing “without difficulty,” Maharaj said yesterday.

Mandela was admitted for his second hospital stay this year before midnight local time on March 27, less than three weeks after a check-up. His health took a “downturn” that day and he was brought to the hospital to prevent the infection from spreading, Maharaj told broadcaster eNCA on March 28.

Mandela’s lung infection developed into a pleural effusion, which was tapped, Maharaj said in a statement on March 30. He said the former president was responding to treatment.

Mandela was hospitalized from Dec. 8 to Dec. 26 to treat a lung infection and have gallstones removed. He contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned on Robben Island during his 27-year incarceration for fighting white minority rule.

Mandela led South Africa for five years after the African National Congress, or ANC, won the first all-race elections in 1994 that marked the end of apartheid.

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