Influenza-associated Hospitalizations by Industry, 2009–10 Influenza Season, United States - Vol. 18 No. 4 - April 2012 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Table of Contents
Volume 18, Number 4–April 2012
Volume 18, Number 4—April 2012
Influenza-associated Hospitalizations by Industry, 2009–10 Influenza Season, United States
Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have issued guidance to assist workplaces in responding to influenza pandemics (1,2), more information is needed about which specific groups of workers are at highest risk for acquiring or having complications from pandemic and seasonal influenza. Specifically, this information is needed for recognizing and responding to increased risks for infection among key occupational groups (e.g., health care workers, school teachers, retail and food service workers, and others with substantial exposure to the general public); informing persons who develop guidance for key policy questions, including the prioritization of groups to receive vaccine, school closing policies, and appropriate personal protective equipment use; and providing data that might trigger more in-depth case studies of clusters of disease occurring among specific workers.
AbstractIn response to pandemic (H1N1) 2009, data were collected on work status and industry of employment of 3,365 adults hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza during the 2009–10 influenza season in the United States. The proportion of workers hospitalized for influenza was lower than their proportion in the general population, reflecting underlying protective characteristics of workers compared with nonworkers. The most commonly represented sectors were transportation and warehousing; administrative and support and waste management and remediation services; health care; and accommodation and food service.
During the influenza (H1N1) 2009 pandemic, NIOSH explored multiple sources of data on the occupations of affected persons. The occupational distribution of all confirmed (H1N1) 2009 pandemic influenza case-patients from 4 states during the early phase of the pandemic (April–July 2009) has been reported by Suarthana et al. (3) but as the pandemic progressed and case counts rapidly increased, it became impossible to collect occupational information on all case-patients.
Thus, during the fall wave of the pandemic, NIOSH worked with the CDC Emerging Infections Program (EIP) to collect data on the industry and occupation of the subset of adults hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza. Hospitalized case-patients, many of whom have underlying medical risk factors for severe disease, are not representative of all persons who acquire influenza. Thus, studying them provides little insight into the risk of acquiring influenza. However, examining the distribution of industry of employment of these persons provides some clues about specific groups of workers that might be most commonly affected by severe influenza.