RIO DE JANEIRO - A 2-year-old Brazilian boy was recovering nicely yesterday and receiving support from across the country after surgery to remove sewing needles his stepfather confessed to pushing into him, a hospital official said.

The child faces additional surgery, probably in the next couple of days, to remove more of the dozens of needles that remain in his body, said Suzy Moreno, a spokeswoman for Hospital Ana Nery in the northeastern city of Salvador.

Police said the boy's stepfather has confessed to pushing the needles into the boy at the behest of his lover in an odd ritual aimed at keeping the couple together.

Moreno said hundreds of people across Brazil are contacting the hospital to inquire about the boy and bring Christmas presents," she said.

Surgeons removed four of the needles - those considered most life-threatening - from one of the boy's lungs and near his heart during a nearly five-hour operation on Friday.

Needles will be removed from his abdomen and spine in upcoming surgeries.

Police say 30-year-old bricklayer Roberto Carlos Magalhaes confessed to sticking the boy with needles because his lover told him to while she was in trances. Police say they believe the lover, Angelina Ribeiro dos Santos, told Magalhaes the ritual would keep them together, but that she was really seeking revenge on Magalhaes' wife by having him hurt her son. The man and his mistress were arrested.