Few studies have examined how acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) influence workplace productivity. We examined the association between laboratory-confirmed influenza and combined absenteeism/presenteeism.
Linear regression was used to model the association between influenza (by seasonal vaccine status) and productivity loss over 7 to 17 days following symptom onset in 1278 employed adults in an influenza vaccine effectiveness study during the 2012 to 2013 through 2015 to 2016 seasons.
Influenza was significantly associated with workplace productivity loss (P < 0.001), but there were no significant differences between virus type/subtypes or seasonal vaccine status. Regardless of vaccination, participants with H1N1pdm09, H3N2, or B infection had the greatest mean productivity loss (range, 67% to 74%), while those with non-influenza ARI had the lowest productivity loss (58% to 59%).
Compared with non-influenza ARI, those with influenza lose an additional half day of work due to absenteeism/presenteeism over the week following symptom onset.