Investigators Examine Infectious Disease Occurring in U.S. Workplaces

Article

Although the risk for acquiring a work-related infectious disease has been known for a very long time, much remains unknown about workplace infections. To summarize what has been learned from recent investigations of infectious disease occurring in U.S. workplaces, researchers performed a literature search. They identified healthcare, laboratory, animal, and public service workers to be the most common industries and occupations involved in work-related cases of infectious disease. The researchers concluded that considering occupational risk factors, strengthening biosafety programs in those industries and involving epidemiologists, physicians, industrial hygienists, and engineers could help prevent spread of occupationally acquired infectious diseases to co-workers and the general public. 
 
Su, et al. (2019) note, "Work-related cases were associated with a variety of infectious pathogens. Bacteria were responsible for most reported cases, followed by viruses, fungi, and parasites or protozoa. As noted previously, respiratory viruses and zoonotic pathogens still threaten workers’ health, especially for healthcare personnel and animal-contact workers. However, we also found reports of some emerging or reemerging pathogens, such as Ebola virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, norovirus, Bacillus anthracis, and Yersinia pestis, that caused several workplace disease clusters."

Reference: Su C, de Perio MA, Cummings KJ, McCague AB, Luckhaupt SE and Sweeney MH. Case Investigations of Infectious Diseases Occurring in Workplaces, United States, 2006–2015. Emerging Infectious Diseases. Vol. 25, No. 3. 2019.

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