NIOSH Podcast Addresses Infectious Diseases in the Workplace

Published June 20, 2019

NIOSH recently published a podcast episode on infectious diseases in the workplace for CDC’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases” series. The episode is based on NIOSH’s review of infectious disease investigations in workplaces across the United States that was published in the March 2019 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published by CDC. Study author Marie de Perio, MD, a physician and an infectious disease expert with NIOSH, discusses the article and how infectious diseases can spread in the workplace.

NIOSH’s literature review found that cases of infectious diseases appear to be concentrated in specific industries such as healthcare and in certain occupations, including laboratory, animal, and public service workers. Agency researchers reviewed scientific literature describing 66 U.S. workplaces during 2006–2015 to improve understanding of the range of cases, risk factors for workers, and ways to prevent infectious disease transmission on the job.

“The cases we reviewed allowed us to identify a range of diseases, specific settings and activities that are at an increased risk for certain infectious diseases, and employee and workplace factors that often facilitate transmission of the disease,” de Perio explained. “We then used this information to highlight effective prevention and control measures that should be taken into account at work sites in order to prevent the spread of disease.”

The new episode is available on CDC’s website. For more information or to subscribe to the podcast, visit the series home page.

Related: The cover article of the October 2018 Synergist, “Potential for Prediction,” discussed the use of mathematical models to guide risk management for infectious diseases in the occupational setting. The cover article of the April 2018 issue, “No Boundaries,” examined IH's role in preventing the transmission of highly hazardous communicable diseases.