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Influenza and Workplace Productivity Loss in Working Adults

Van Wormer, Jeffrey J. PhD; King, Jennifer P. MPH; Gajewski, Anna MPH; McLean, Huong Q. PhD; Belongia, Edward A. MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 12 - p 1135–1139
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001120

Objective: Few studies have examined how acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) influence workplace productivity. We examined the association between laboratory-confirmed influenza and combined absenteeism/presenteeism.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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%).

Conclusions: 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.

Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Marshfield, Wisconsin.

Address correspondence to: Jeffrey J. Van Wormer, PhD, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, 1000 North Oak Ave, Marshfield, WI 54449 (

This research was funded by cooperative agreement U01 IP000471 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in part through philanthropic support of Marshfield Clinic Research Institute's Summer Research Internship Program.

Conflicts of Interest: None declared.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine