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Infectious Diseases - Non-Clinical Medicine - Public Health and Epidemiology

Distribution of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) by Occupation in Washington State, September 2009–August 2010
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Author: Naomi J. Anderson et al.

by Naomi J. Anderson, David K. Bonauto, Z. Joyce Fan, June T. Spector


: We aim to estimate the prevalence of influenza-like illness (ILI) by occupation and to identify occupations associated with increased ILI prevalence.


Between September 2009 and August 2010, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) included questions on ILI symptoms on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Washington State collects the occupation of all employed BRFSS respondents. ILI prevalence and prevalence ratios (PR) were calculated by occupational group.


There were 8,758 adult, currently employed, non-military respondents to the Washington BRFSS during the study period. The ILI prevalence for all employed respondents was 6.8% (95% Confidence Interval (95% CI)?=?6.1, 7.6). PRs indicated a lower prevalence of ILI in Technicians (PR?=?0.4, 95% CI?=?0.2, 0.9) and Truck Drivers (PR?=?0.2, 95% CI?=?0.1, 0.7) and higher prevalence in Janitors and Cleaners (PR?=?2.5, 95% CI?=?1.3, 4.7) and Secretaries (PR?=?2.4, 95% CI?=?1.1, 5.4).


Some occupations appear to have higher prevalence of ILI than others. These occupational differences may be explained, in part, by differing levels of social contact with the public or contact with contaminated surfaces at work, or by other occupational factors such as stress or access to health care resources.