FRIDAY, July 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Workplace absenteeism during the high-severity 2017 to 2018 influenza season increased sharply in November and peaked in January, reaching a higher level than the average during the previous five seasons, according to research published in the July 5 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Mathew R. Groenewold, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues describe the prevalence of workplace absenteeism among full-time workers in the United States during the high-severity 2017 to 2018 influenza season (October 2017 to September 2018).

The researchers found absenteeism sharply increased in November and peaked in January; at its peak, the absenteeism level was significantly higher than the average during the previous five seasons. Male workers, workers aged 45 to 64 years, and workers living in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regions 6 and 9 were especially affected, as were those working in management, business, and financial; installation, maintenance, and repair; and production and related occupations.

“State and local health authorities, as well as employers, might wish to consult these results when developing and targeting prevention messages and use them to monitor long-term trends for their jurisdiction during interpandemic periods,” the authors write.

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