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Exploring National Surveillance for Health-Related Workplace Absenteeism: Lessons Learned From the 2009 Influenza A Pandemic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 March 2013

Matthew R. Groenewold*
Affiliation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, , National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Doris L. Konicki
Affiliation:
American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, USA
Sara E. Luckhaupt
Affiliation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, , National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Ahmed Gomaa
Affiliation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, , National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Lisa M. Koonin
Affiliation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
*
Address correspondence and reprint requests to 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 (e-mail: gyr5@cdc.gov).

Abstract

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. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;0:1–7)

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2013 

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