Health Care Personnel Work Despite Having Influenza Symptoms

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The most common reason for continuing work was inability to afford lost pay.
The most common reason for continuing work was inability to afford lost pay.

HealthDay News — More than 40% of health care personnel (HCP) with influenza-like illness (ILI) work while ill, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Sophia Chiu, MD, MPH, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Cincinnati, and colleagues used data from a national nonprobability internet panel survey of 1914 HCP during the 2014-2015 influenza season to calculate the frequency of working with self-reported ILI (eg, fever and cough or sore throat).

The researchers found that 21.6% of HCP reported ILI, and 41.4% reported working with ILI (median, 3 days; range, 0 to 30 days). 

The highest frequencies of working with ILI occurred among pharmacists (67.2%) and physicians (63.2%). By work setting, hospital-based HCP had the highest frequency of working with ILI (49.3%). Still being able to perform job duties and not feeling bad enough to miss work were the most common reasons given for working while ill, while at long-term-care facilities, the most common reason was inability to afford lost pay.

"To reduce HCP-associated influenza transmission, potential interventions could target HCP misconceptions about working while ill and paid sick leave policies," the authors write.

Reference

Chiu S, Black CL, Yue X, et al. Working with influenza-like illness: Presenteeism among US health care personnel during the 2014-2015 influenza season. Am J Infect Control. 2017;45(11):1254-1258.



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