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More Than a Cold: Hospital-Acquired Respiratory Viral Infections, Sick Leave Policy, and A Need for Culture Change

  • Eric J. Chow (a1) (a2) and Leonard A. Mermel (a1) (a3)


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Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Dr Leonard Mermel, Division of Infectious Diseases, Rhode Island Hospital, 593 Eddy Street Providence, RI 02905 (


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2. Chow, EJ, Mermel, LA. Hospital-acquired respiratory viral infections: incidence, morbidity, and mortality in pediatric and adult patients. Open Forum Infect Dis 2017;4(1):ofx006.
3. Szymczak, JE, Smathers, S, Hoegg, C, Klieger, S, Coffin, SE, Sammons, JS. Reasons why physicians and advanced practice clinicians work while sick: a mixed-methods analysis. JAMA Pediatr 2015;169:815821.
4. Tanksley, AL, Wolfson, RK, Arora, VM. Changing the “working while sick” culture: promoting fitness for duty in health care. JAMA 2016;315:603604.
5. Mossad, SB, Deshpande, A, Schramm, S, Liu, X, Rothberg, MB. Working despite having influenza-like illness: results of an anonymous survey of healthcare providers who care for transplant recipients. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2017;38:966969.
6. Prevention strategies for seasonal influenza in healthcare settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Published 2013. Accessed August 24, 2017.
7. Mermel, LA. Influenza fever restrictions for healthcare workers and pandemic planning: time for reappraisal. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2015;36:1248.
8. Chughtai, AA, Wang, Q, Dung, TC, Macintyre, CR. The presence of fever in adults with influenza and other viral respiratory infections. Epidemiol Infect 2017;145:148155.
9. Temime, L, Opatowski, L, Pannet, Y, Brun-Buisson, C, Boëlle, PY, Guillemot, D. Peripatetic health-care workers as potential superspreaders. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009;106:1842018425.
10. Blackburn, RM, Zhao, H, Pebody, R, Hayward, AC, Warren-Gash, C. Laboratory-confirmed respiratory infections as predictors of hospital admission for myocardial infarction and stroke: time-series analysis of English data for 2004–2015. Clin Infect Dis 2018. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix1144.
11. Kwong, JC, Schwartz, KL, Campitelli, MA, et al. Acute myocardial infarction after laboratory-confirmed influenza infection. N Engl J Med 2018;378:345353.

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More Than a Cold: Hospital-Acquired Respiratory Viral Infections, Sick Leave Policy, and A Need for Culture Change

  • Eric J. Chow (a1) (a2) and Leonard A. Mermel (a1) (a3)


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