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Occupational risks for infection with influenza A and B: a national case-control study covering 1 July 2006-31 December 2019.

OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether crowded workplaces, sharing surfaces and exposure to infections were factors associated with a positive test for influenza virus.

METHODS: We studied 11 300 cases with a positive test for influenza A and 3671 cases of influenza B from Swedish registry of communicable diseases. Six controls for each case were selected from the population registry, with each control being assigned the index date of their corresponding case. We linked job histories to job-exposure matrices (JEMs), to assess different transmission dimensions of influenza and risks for different occupations compared with occupations that the JEM classifies as low exposed. We used adjusted conditional logistic analyses to estimate the ORs for influenza with 95% CI.

RESULTS: The highest odds were for influenza were: regular contact with infected patients (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.54 to 1.73); never maintained social distance (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.43 to 1.59); frequently sharing materials/surfaces with the general public (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.34 to 1.48); close physical proximity (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.45 to 1.62) and high exposure to diseases or infections (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.44 to 1.64). There were small differences between influenza A and influenza B. The five occupations with the highest odds as compared with low exposed occupations were: primary care physicians, protective service workers, elementary workers, medical and laboratory technicians, and taxi drivers.

CONCLUSIONS: Contact with infected patients, low social distance and sharing surfaces are dimensions that increase risk for influenza A and B. Further safety measures are needed to diminish viral transmission in these contexts.

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