Flu Scan for Mar 19, 2019

Presenteeism in hospitals
Global flu developments

More than half of hospital trainees report to work with flulike illness

More than half of postgraduate hospital trainees self-reported that they come to work while experiencing influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms, despite also saying that doing so poses a risk to patients, according to a study yesterday in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The study is the latest evidence of healthcare worker presenteeism—reporting for work while ill—and was based on an anonymous online survey given to trainees at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, in the spring of 2018.

Fifty-four percent of 197 trainee participants said they went to work while experiencing ILI in the previous year, even though 93% of participants said doing say was dangerous to patients. The participants said they expected to be complimented on their work ethic for working while ill, and only 9% of program leaders accurately estimated ILI presenteeism in trainees. Of the 23 program managers who participated, 6 (26%) said they had come to work with ILI symptoms.

"House staff responded that they would come to work with sore throat alone (88%), cough alone (87%), or nasal congestion (89%). Sixty-eight (35%) responded that they would come to work with fever alone. Only 4 (2%) reported that they would not work with any of the symptoms listed," the authors wrote.

The authors concluded by suggesting a need to change attitudes, practices, and culture regarding sick-leave policies.
Mar 18 Am J Infect Control study


Flu starting to decline in some Northern Hemisphere regions

Flu activity continues at elevated levels in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, but is showing some signs of decline in some countries in Europe, Western Asia, and Eastern Asia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its latest global flu update.

In North America, the dominant strain has shifted to H3N2 from the 2009 H1N1 strain, with both influenza A strains circulating in Europe.

Among tropical regions, flu activity remained high in Southern Asia, including India where the 2009 H1N1 strain is predominant. In Southeast Asia, Thailand reported a sharp increase in flu activity, mainly from influenza B.

In the Southern Hemisphere's temperate regions, flu is mainly at interseasonal levels, but some parts of Australia are reporting flu circulation above expected levels, which involves cocirculation of both influenza A strains.

Globally, lab testing of samples through Mar 3 reflects very little influenza B activity: 97.1% of samples were influenza A and 2.9% were influenza B. Of subtyped influenza A strains, 59.5% were 2009 H1N1 and 40.5% were H3N2.
Mar 18 WHO global flu update

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