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CDC: Flu most prevalent among real estate, food service workers

Atlanta – The flu and similar illnesses are most prevalent among workers in the real estate, hospitality and food service industries, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report is based on data from the 2009 National H1N1 Flu Survey. In a sample of 28,710 U.S. workers, 5.5 percent reported having symptoms of the flu in the month before the interview. By industry, flu-like cases were most frequently reported in real estate/rental/leasing (10.5 percent) and accommodation and food service (10.2 percent). By occupation, food preparation and serving had the highest reports of the flu (11 percent), followed by community and social services (8.3 percent).

Researchers also looked at flu vaccination rates. Health care topped the list, with more than half of respondents in that industry saying they had been vaccinated.

To help prevent the transmission of the flu in the workplace, researchers suggested employers adopt vaccination programs, provide education on hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and urge sick workers to stay home.