SEASONAL INFLUENZA (FLU) IN THE WORKPLACE
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.
Evaluating occupational issues related to influenza
Testing and evaluating respirators and masks
Understanding how the virus is transmitted
*www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17544181 Molinari 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.
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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