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Exploring national surveillance for health-related workplace absenteeism: lessons learned from the 2009 influenza a pandemic.
Groenewold MR; Konicki DL; Luckhaupt SE; Gomaa A; Koonin LM
Disaster Med Public Health Prep 2013 Apr; 7(2):160-166
Background: During the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a pilot study to test the feasibility of using national surveillance of workplace absenteeism to assess the pandemic's impact on the workplace to plan for preparedness and continuity of operations and to contribute to health awareness during the emergency response. Methods: Population-based and sentinel worksite approaches were used. Monthly measures of the 1-week prevalence of health-related absenteeism among full-time workers were estimated using nationally representative data from the Current Population Survey. Enhanced passive surveillance of absenteeism was conducted using weekly data from a convenience sample of sentinel worksites. Results: Nationally, the pandemic's impact on workplace absenteeism was small. Estimates of 1-week absenteeism prevalence did not exceed 3.7%. However, peak workplace absenteeism was correlated with the highest occurrence of both influenza-like illness and influenza-positive laboratory tests. Conclusions: Systems for monitoring workplace absenteeism should be included in pandemic preparedness planning.
Viral-diseases; Surveillance-programs; Diseases; Workers; Work-environment; Humans; Men; Women; Infectious-diseases; Author Keywords: surveillance; absenteeism; influenza; human
Matthew R. Groenewold, PhD, MSPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, 4676 Columbia Pkwy, MS R-17, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
OH; IL; GA
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division