Eight schools in the Montreal area have reported absences due to swine flu outbreak in the last 24 hours.

An outbreak is defined by Montreal Health officials as a 10 per cent absenteeism rate or higher. 

While the parents of some absent students reported flu-like symptoms, others may have been kept home for undisclosed reasons.

Four schools in the Lester B. Pearson School Board have reported a 10 per cent absenteeism rate:

  • St Edmund's elementary school in Beaconsfield
  • Christmas Park elementary school in Beaconsfield
  • Clearpoint elementary school in Pointe Claire
  • St. Thomas high school in Pointe Claire

"Each of our schools is reporting to the head office every day. We compile that information... and report that to Sante Publique," said Marcus Tabachnick, chairman of the Lester B. Pearson School Board.

"It's so they can track patterns and find areas of high concentration."

One elementary school in the English Montreal School Board has also reported an outbreak.

So far, 12 elementary schools have reported outbreaks since September, with five in the last 24 hours. 

Four high schools have reported outbreaks, with three in the last 24 hours.

Montreal Health officials said they are monitoring the situation closely.

In Quebec City, Ecole Sacre Coeur reported an 18-per-cent absentee rate. Staff has disinfected the entire building.