Study: Paid sick leave can curb flu spread

Nov. 25, 2011 at 1:06 AM
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PITTSBURGH, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Exposure to influenza H1N1 was influenced by social determinants such as the lack of paid sick leave, U.S researchers found.

Supriya Kumar of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues assessed the impact of social determinants of potential exposure to H1N1 -- unequally distributed by race and ethnicity in the United States -- on incidence of influenza-like illness during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, by surveying a nationally representative sample of 2,079 U.S. adults in January 2010.

The researchers found a higher incidence of influenza-like illness related to workplace policies such as access to paid sick leave, and structural factors such as number of children and crowding in the household.

However, even after controlling for income and education, the Hispanic population was related to a greater risk of influenza-like illness attributable to social determinants.

"Federal mandates for sick leave could have significant health impacts by reducing morbidity from -- influenza-like illness -- especially in Hispanics," the study authors said in a statement.

The study was published online ahead of the January print issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

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