A study of the health and economic effects of influenza-like illness on the working population under different working environments of a large corporation in Hong Kong

Kenneth K.C. Lee, Shu Chuen Li, Kai Sun Kwong, Thomas Y.K. Chan, Vivian W.Y. Lee, Joseph T.F. Lau

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Objective: The incidence, health and economic impacts of influenza-like illness (ILI) among the working population in Hong Kong had never been studied. Due to the nature of the disease, ILIs can have a significant impact on the operation of a corporation in terms of loss of productivity and reduced work performance. The present study was undertaken to determine the health and economic impacts of ILIs under different environmental conditions on the working population of a large corporation. Method: Over 2,000 employees of a large corporation in the travelling and tourism industry were studied with three different types of working environment (confined, typical office and well ventilated) by two structured questionnaires. Results: The most affected group in terms of productivity and health was the group working in a confined area, whilst those working in a well-ventilated area were least affected. However, symptoms of the confined area group seemed to disappear faster. The infection rate appeared to vary according to work environment for the studied population. Conclusion: Policies on preventive measures and early treatment are important for a corporation to reduce loss in productivity due to ILIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-650
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medical Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Corporation
  • Cost of flu
  • Productivity
  • Work environment

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