Social distancing in the workplace reduced the transmission of influenza

Added July 1, 2020

Citation: Ahmed F, Zviedrite N, Uzicanin A. Effectiveness of workplace social distancing measures in reducing influenza transmission: a systematic review. BMC public health. 2018 Dec; 18(1): 518.

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in widespread social distancing measures. Existing research on the effectiveness of social distancing measures intended to reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses in workplaces might provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research on workplace social distancing interventions for the prevention of influenza transmission. They restricted their searches to articles published in English since 2000 and did the search in May 2017. They included 3 epidemiological studies and 12 modelling studies.

What was found: Within the studies included in this review, workplace social distancing measures (working from home where possible, extended weekends or rotating workforce schedules) reduced influenza transmission, both in the workplace and the wider population.

The effectiveness of workplace social distancing was reduced if the transmissibility rate (R0) increased above 1.9, if the threshold for triggering interventions increased, or if compliance reduced.

Adding other nonpharmaceutical and pharmaceutical measures increased the effectiveness of workplace social distancing.

The effects of workplace social distancing in lower income countries are uncertain.


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