Flu Fear Swamps US Hospitals

System strained as people with mild symptoms demand swine flu tests
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2009 4:37 AM CDT
San Diego County micro-biologist Anna Liza Manlutac tests for the influenza virus at the San Diego County Public Health lab,   (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
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(Newser) – Hospitals and clinics across the country are being overwhelmed by panicky people seeking to be tested for swine flu, reports the Los Angeles Times. Experts warn the signs of strain already show that the system is ill-equipped to deal with a full-scale outbreak. Health officials struggling to cope with the influx are urging people not to over-react to mild flu symptoms by rushing in for testing.

"We don't want everybody who has a sniffle to come to have a culture, because that doesn't help us," San Francisco's health chief told the Chronicle. "As long as it remains a mild illness, we want people to stay home where they're not going to transmit the illness. They should come get help if they're having difficulty breathing, which is something we haven't seen yet."