According to doctors, Central Canada is likely at the peak of a flu season, which started earlier than normal and is causing more severe disease in the elderly. Last year, the H1N1 strain affected younger Canadians, but this year, it’s the H3N2 strain that is causing large outbreaks in nursing homes where residents are more likely to end up in hospital and intensive care. “We’ve seen really a burst of activity [around Toronto] that came between the holiday seasons, which has continued over the last two weeks,” said Dr. Don Low, medical director of Ontario’s public health laboratories. He added that Canada is probably hitting the peak of this new influenza season. This year, the number of confirmed flu cases in Ontario is six times higher than the average for early January, according to the province’s health ministry. The Public Health Agency of Canada’s FluWatch map up to Jan. 8 showed widespread activity in southeastern Quebec. “Although the percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza increased slightly in week 01, the national rate appears to be approaching the peak,” the agency said Friday. Ontario’s Health Ministry is urging people who are especially vulnerable in particular — the elderly, young children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems — to get free flu shots.