Health officials say a new strain of influenza is hitting hard at Ontario. The province is seeing a widespread outbreak of Sydney A influenza.

Ottawa's associate medical officer health says before it is over, the flu could hit 25 per cent of the city.

The Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario says 1,200 children have been treated in the emergency department since last Thursday. Five nursing homes have been hit and schools are reporting high absenteeism.

The Waterloo Region Health Department says people should take precautions to combat an outbreak of flu. Absenteeism rates at 65 area schools range between 10 and 32 per cent this week.

Flu symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, cough, stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea.