Senator Byrd develops staph infection
WASHINGTON - Senator Robert C. Byrd, who has served in the Senate longer than anyone in history, has developed a staph infection that has prolonged his stay in a Washington-area hospital.
Byrd's office said the West Virginia Democrat, hospitalized more than two weeks ago for an earlier infection, was being treated with antibiotics and was responding well. Staph infections differ in severity depending on the site of infection, but they are more of a threat to people with weakened immune systems and underlying chronic illnesses.
Byrd, 91, has become increasingly frail in recent years and moves about in a wheelchair. Renowned for his oratory, he now reads his speeches, sometimes with difficulty.
Byrd, first elected to the Senate in 1958, in 2006 was reelected for a record ninth six-year term. As the Senate's president pro tempore, a largely symbolic post reserved for the longest-serving member of the Senate, he is third in line of presidential succession after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.