(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 (e.g., 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.