Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush is shown on the sidelines before an NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Buffalo Bills where he served as honorary captain on military service appreciate day on Sunday, November 4, 2012, in Houston, Texas. (George Bridges/MCT via Getty Images)
Bush's spokesman, Jim McGrath, said late Wednesday that the former president was admitted to the ICU on Sunday at Methodist Hospital, "following a series of setbacks including a persistent fever."
McGrath says Bush is alert and conversing with medical staff, and that doctors are cautiously optimistic about his treatment.
No other details about his medical condition were provided, but McGrath says Bush is surrounded by family.
Earlier Wednesday, McGrath said a fever that kept Bush in the hospital over Christmas had gotten worse and that doctors had put him on a liquids-only diet.
A bronchitis-like cough initially brought Bush to the hospital in late November. McGrath says the cough has improved.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
A "stubborn" fever that kept former President George H.W. Bush in a hospital over Christmas has gotten worse, and doctors have put him on a liquids-only diet, his spokesman said Wednesday.
Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, had said earlier in the day that the fever had gone away, but he later corrected himself.
"It's an elevated fever, so it's actually gone up in the last day or two," McGrath told The Associated Press. "It's a stubborn fever that won't go away."
Doctors at Methodist Hospital in Houston have run tests and are treating the fever with Tylenol, but they still haven't nailed down a cause, McGrath said. Doctors also have put Bush on a liquid diet, though McGrath could not say why.
The bronchitis-like cough that initially brought Bush to the hospital on Nov. 23 has improved, McGrath said. The 88-year-old is now coughing about once a day, he said.
Bush was visited on Christmas by his wife, Barbara, his son, Neil, and Neil's wife, Maria, and a grandson, McGrath said. Bush's daughter, Dorothy, will arrive Wednesday in Houston from Bethesda, Md. The 41st president has also been visited twice by his sons, George W. Bush, the 43rd president, and Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida.
Bush and his wife live in Houston during the winter and spend their summers at a home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
The former president was a naval aviator in World War II - at one point the youngest in the Navy - and was shot down over the Pacific. He achieved notoriety in retirement for skydiving on at least three of his birthdays since leaving the White House in 1992.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)