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NIOSH Influenza-related Activities

In the US, the annual direct costs (hospitalization, doctors' office visits, medications, etc.) of influenza are estimated at $4.6 billion. Additionally, up to 111 million workdays are lost because of influenza at an estimated $7 billion/year in sick days and lost productivity.*

To minimize the work-related risks of catching influenza, NIOSH conducts surveillance, Health Hazard Evaluations (HHEs), and research:

  • Surveillance helps with early detection of influenza and highlights effective prevention strategies by analyzing data and monitoring trends.
  • The HHE program responds to requests from employers, employees, and union representatives to evaluate occupational issues related to influenza and helps identify ways of reducing risks to workers.
  • Research on topics such as influenza transmission and respiratory protection leads to more knowledge about workplace issues related to influenza.

The following are activities that NIOSH is currently conducting related to the safety and health of workers who are potentially exposed to seasonal influenza.

NIOSH Activities

Health Hazard Evaluations

Evaluating occupational issues related to influenza

Respiratory Protection Research

Testing and evaluating respirators and masks

Influenza Transmission Research

Understanding how the virus is transmitted


Tracking flu cases and preventive measures

Engineering Infection Controls

Developing and evaluating engineering controls to reduce infectious disease transmission

* NA, Ortega-Sanchez IR, Messonnier ML, Thompson WW, Wortley PM, Weintraub E, Bridges CB. The annual impact of seasonal influenza in the US: measuring disease burden and costs. Vaccine 2007;25(27):5086–5096.

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  • Page last reviewed: June 4, 2012
  • Page last updated: February 18, 2011 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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