The August edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine has a paper and editorial on presenteeism that are important for the infection prevention community. Presenteeism is the situation that occurs when workers report to work ill. In the case of communicable diseases in the healthcare setting, presenteeism has the potential to spark outbreaks of illness such as norovirus gastroenteritis, influenza, and other respiratory infections.
As I mentioned in a previous posting, our influenza control plan for the upcoming season is to encourage (but not mandate) vaccination of healthcare workers, coupled with a greater emphasis on avoiding presenteeism. Unlike vaccination, reducing presenteeism is a multipotent intervention, and a great example of the horizontal approach to infection control.