01/17/2013 07:24 EST | Updated 03/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Flu season in Newfoundland worst seen in years: health official

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are suffering through one of the worst flu seasons in years.

The province's chief medical officer says the number of cases of influenza tends to peak every three to four years.

Dr. Faith Stratton says the most recent peak was in 2009.

As well, she says flu cases showed up earlier than usual this year, and patients have been complaining of particularly severe symptoms.

Stratton says one of the strains showing up is H-3-N-2, or Influenza A, which is a more virulent form of the virus.