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Health-Related Workplace Absenteeism Among Full-Time Workers — United States, 2017–18 Influenza Season
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Details:
  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    During an influenza pandemic and during seasonal epidemics, more persons have symptomatic illness without seeking medical care than seek treatment at doctor's offices, clinics, and hospitals (1). Consequently, surveillance based on mortality, health care encounters, and laboratory data does not reflect the full extent of influenza morbidity. CDC uses a mathematical model to estimate the total number of influenza illnesses in the United States (1). In addition, syndromic methods for monitoring illness outside health care settings, such as tracking absenteeism trends in schools and workplaces, are important adjuncts to conventional disease reporting (2). Every month, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) monitors the prevalence of health-related workplace absenteeism among full-time workers in the United States using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) (3). This report describes the results of workplace absenteeism surveillance analyses conducted during the high-severity 2017-18 influenza season (October 2017-September 2018) (4). Absenteeism increased sharply in November, peaked in January and, at its peak, was significantly higher than the average during the previous five seasons. Persons especially affected included male workers, workers aged 45-64 years, workers living in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Region 6* and Region 9,| and those working in management, business, and financial; installation, maintenance, and repair; and production and related occupations. Public health authorities and employers might consider results from relevant absenteeism surveillance analyses when developing prevention messages and in pandemic preparedness planning. The most effective ways to prevent influenza transmission in the workplace include vaccination and nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and routinely cleaning frequently touched surfaces (5).
  • Pubmed ID:
    31269013
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC6613571
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