Healthcare workers’ presenteeism causing an outbreak of respiratory infections in a facility for patients with severe motor and intellectual disabilities

Published:August 24, 2022DOI:


      • Presenteeism among health- care workers is a source of infectious disease outbreaks.
      • Such presenteeism threatens the health of hospitalized patients.
      • It also increases hospital costs.
      • Controlling presenteeism among healthcare workers is critical.
      • It will help prevent infectious disease outbreaks.



      This study aimed to identify the source of infection and medical costs for a respiratory infection outbreak in a facility for patients with severe motor and intellectual disabilities (SMID). Presenteeism refers to a situation wherein a person continues going to work despite being ill.


      The cohort included 1 healthcare worker and 17 patients who developed a fever of ≥37.5°C with respiratory symptoms for nearly a month. An outbreak investigation was conducted, which determined the initial case of the outbreak to be a single healthcare worker. We performed a univariate analysis to determine the association of the healthcare worker. From the medical records, we evaluated the costs of addition treatment and laboratory tests for the respiratory infection.


      The source of infection was a healthcare worker at the facility (Odds ratio, 17.5; 95% confidential interval, 3.0–101.8). The total medical cost for hospitalized patients due to this outbreak was $12,324.


      The source of a respiratory infection outbreak in a facility for SMID was suggested to be a healthcare worker's presenteeism.


      The cause of this outbreak was healthcare workers’ presenteeism. To prevent outbreaks, such facilities should address the causative factors.

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