What is already known about this topic?

Surveillance using mortality, health care encounters, and laboratory data does not reflect the full extent of influenza morbidity. CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducts monthly monitoring of health-related workplace absenteeism.

What is added by this report?

During the 2017–18 influenza season, absenteeism increased sharply in November and peaked in January, at a level significantly higher than the average during the previous five seasons. Workers who were male, aged 45–64 years, and working in certain U.S. Census regions and occupations were more affected than were other subgroups.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Workplace absenteeism is an important supplementary measure of influenza’s impact on the working population that can inform prevention messaging and pandemic preparedness planning.

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