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Hospitals Overwhelmed by Flu

 We've survived the Y2K bug...only to be attacked by the flu bug. Flu season took hold in earnest over the holidays, reports CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin.


"Influenza activity is picking up in most parts of the country," says Keiji Fukuda of the Centers for Disease Control.


Doctors all over the U.S. agree and emergency rooms are being swamped. Dr. Stephen Lynn of St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York City has seen hundreds of flu cases just in the last few days.


"Some years are good flu years. Others are bad. This year seems to be particularly bad," he says.


Some parts of the country are faring worse than others. Hospitals in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles are reporting a surge in cases.


Dr. Susan Stangl of the UCLA Family Health Center says that surge has come little earlier than usual. "We tend to see more flu in January and February but we 're definitely seeing a lot of people, probably a twenty to thirty percent increase over last year."


Symptoms include cough, headache and a high fever that won't subside. Even the new anti-flu drugs on the market won't help if you wait too long to see a doctor.


"For three or four days I've been sick," says flu victim Shirley Pistor. "I could practically not get out of bed."


The good news is that this flu is a known enemy, influenza A, and the flu shot is still up to 90-percent effective against it. But doctors admit at this time of year there are so many other viruses out there it may be impossible to avoid them all.
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