Ottawa's flu season appears to have started early according to recently released statistics and has already been fatal.

One person, who hasn't been identified, has died of influenza, while 6 others have been hospitalized.

In institutions like seniors residences, there are five outbreaks of influenza so far, compared to zero at the same time last year.  There are currently 2 active influenza outbreaks in long term care facilities that started earlier this month. 

The pace of infection also seems to be picking up with 12 new cases reported last week alone.

66 per cent of victims are over 65 years old and 17 per cent are under 5. Those are the target age groups for the flu shot. City of Ottawa flu-shot clinics are finished but 56 pharmacies are offering the shots around the city, mostly Shoppers Drug Marts and Rexall Pharmacies.

Public health says reporting levels don't always reflect the true levels as many people stay at home when they are sick and don't report to health officials. Emergency rooms reported this morning an increase in respiratory.

The number one precaution is to wash your hands and the public health department says residents should get the flu shot