- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

BANGKOK (AP) - Thailand’s royal palace announced Tuesday that the health of 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has been suffering from infections and breathing difficulties, has improved in response to antibiotic treatment and physical therapy.

A statement from the palace said the king’s fever has declined and an inflammation of his joints was cured. Bhumibol suffers from many of the ailments associated with old age, and has lived in a Bangkok hospital for most of the past six years.

The palace announced in mid-February that Bhumibol, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, had a 38.1 C (100.6 F) fever, fatigue, rapid breathing and occasional high blood pressure.

Tuesday’s announcement said his physicians have stopped giving him antibiotics intravenously, but are still treating him with oral antibiotics, oxygen and physical therapy.

The king has been a stabilizing figure through much of his reign, but his participation in public affairs has sharply declined in recent years. Worries about the king’s health and succession have contributed to Thailand’s political instability over the past decade. The heir apparent, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, does not command the same respect and affection as his father.

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