The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is encouraging you to get a flu shot if you haven’t already.

That’s because this year’s vaccine is one of the best matches for the circulating strain of the virus in recent years. A report from a national network of doctors keeping an eye on flu strains says the vaccine is a 72 per cent match against Influenza A H1N1.

That just happens to be the most common strain in Canada this flu season.

“We congratulate everyone in our communities who received the flu shot this year,” said Simcoe Muskoka Associate Medical officer of Health Dr. Colin Lee in a release. “Because of the vaccine’s effectiveness, they have not only protected themselves but they have reduced the burden of illness throughout Simcoe and Muskoka.”

Flu cases continue to increase in Simcoe Muskoka, with 62 new lab-confirmed cases reported the week of January 13th to the 19th. The total number of cases, 240, is higher than last year at this time, but 98 per cent of the cases have been diagnosed as H1N1, the strain covered by the vaccine.

The SMDHU says the strain this year is causing greater illness among children under the age of 14 and younger adults more than usual. Last year’s extremely long season resulted in a record number of flu cases in the region. It involved the H3N2 strain, which had a more serious impact on older adults.

The flu shot is available to everyone five years of age and over from most pharmacies in the region, or from professional health care providers for all ages. You can get more information on the flu by calling Health Connection at 705-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30am to 4:30pm or visiting the health unit’s website.