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Shift Work and Respiratory Infections in Health-Care Workers

26 Nov 2019

AbstractRecently, there has been interest in whether shift work may enhance susceptibility to infection. Our aim was to determine whether shift workers in the health-care field have a higher incidence, duration, and/or severity of influenza-like illness (ILI) and acute respiratory infection (ARI) than non–shift workers. From September 2016 to June 2017, 501 rotating and/or night-shift workers and 88 non–shift workers from the Klokwerk+ Study (the Netherlands, 2016–2017) registered the occurrence of ILI/ARI symptoms daily using a smartphone application. The incidence rate of ILI/ARI (defined as ≥2 symptoms on the same day/≥1 symptom on 2 consecutive days), the mean duration of each episode, and the incidence rate of severe episodes were compared between shift workers and non–shift workers using negative binomial regression and linear mixed-model analysis. In total, participants completed 110,347 diaries. Shift workers’ incidence rate of ILI/ARI was 1.20 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01, 1.43) times higher than that of non–shift workers, and for severe ILI/ARI episodes, shift workers’ incidence rate was 1.22 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.49) times higher. The mean duration of an ILI/ARI episode did not differ (ratio between means = 1.02, 95% CI: 0.87, 1.19). In conclusion, shift workers in health care had more ILI/ARI episodes and more severe ILI/ARI episodes than non–shift workers, but with a similar duration. Insight into underlying mechanisms connecting shift work and infection susceptibility will contribute to the design of preventive initiatives.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in American Journal of Epidemiology