Presenteeism among health care workers with laboratory-confirmed influenza infection

a retrospective cohort study in Queensland, Australia

Chisato Imai*, Lisa Hall, Stephen B. Lambert, Katharina M. D. Merollini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: A high prevalence of working while ill (presenteeism) has been documented among health care workers (HCWs). However, previous evidence is primarily based on nonspecific causes of sickness and self-reported data. Our study examined presenteeism among HCWs with laboratory-confirmed influenza. Methods: The data pertaining to laboratory-confirmed influenza cases and history of sick leave among HCWs in Queensland, Australia, were collected from 2009-2015. The incidence and duration of sick leave around the time of disease confirmation were analyzed. The associations of factors, such as job category and employment status, on presenteeism were assessed with regression analyses. Results: The overall sick leave incidence was 85.9% in the laboratory-confirmed periods, which translates that 14.1% of HCWs were working while ill with influenza. Among medical doctors, approximately one-quarter of them were attending work in the period. A shorter duration of leave was also observed among medical doctors and full-time employees compared with other HCWs and part-time employees. Conclusions: Presenteeism among HCWs with influenza put both HCWs and patients at risk by increasing potential for transmission. Our findings emphasize the importance of an integrated approach including both HCW sick leave management and vaccination for strategic prevention and control of nosocomial influenza infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-360
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Health care worker
  • Influenza
  • Presenteeism
  • Sick leave
  • Working while sick

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