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Rescued Chilean miners are healthy, with exceptions

COPIAPO, Wednesday 13 October 2010 (AFP) - Sixteen of the Chilean miners rescued after nearly 70 days underground and examined at a nearby hospital are in good health -- with three exceptions, Health Minister Jaime Manalich said Wednesday.

One of the miners is receiving an "intensive antibiotic treatment" for a severe case of pneumonia, Manalich told reporters.

Two other miners will on Thursday undergo "invasive dental surgery under general anesthesia" because of "very serious" infections, he said.

Manalich did not identify the ill miners, but did say that the majority "are in a more than satisfactory condition" after they were rushed to the Copiapo Regional Hospital aboard Chilean Air Force helicopters for tests.

Copiapo, the capital of the northern Atacama region, is located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the the San Jose copper and gold mine where the men have been trapped since an August 5 cave in. It is the nearest city to the mine.

Several other unnamed miners will visit the dentist for out-patient treatment, Manalich said.

Some of the miners could be out of the hospital as early as Thursday, the minister added.

Hospital doctors speaking on condition of anonymity earlier told AFP that two miners -- Mario Sepulveda, 39, the second miner who was rescued, and Mario Gomez, 63, the oldest miner -- were found to have silicosis.

Silicosis is an irreversible respiratory disease caused by inhaling silica dust, a common ailment among miners.

Sepulveda "is in good spirits, but has silicosis," one of the doctors told AFP.

Gomez had already been diagnosed with silicosis before he was trapped in the mine.

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Seeing light again

MySinchew 2010.10.14


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