Health Highlights: Jan. 2, 2013

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Ex-President George H.W. Bush in Hospital ICU: Reports

Former President George H.W. Bush, 88, remains in "guarded condition" in the intensive care unit at a Houston hospital because of a persistent fever related to a lingering respiratory illness, according to published reports.

Bush, who was initially hospitalized on Nov. 23 with a cough linked to bronchitis, was moved to the ICU at Methodist Hospital on Sunday because of an alarming fever, Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, told the Associated Press.

"It's an elevated fever, so it's actually gone up in the last day or two," McGrath told the AP. "It's a stubborn fever that won't go away." However, the cough that sent Bush to the hospital last month is improved, he said.

Bush -- the 41st president and the oldest former commander-in-chief -- was put on a liquid diet, McGrath also said on Wednesday. The former president's family is with him, and his physicians are cautiously optimistic about his prognosis, McGrath said.

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