Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Chik-V like symptoms floor private-sector employees

Published:Tuesday | November 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM

FIFTY-THREE private-sector companies have reported that on average, 93 per cent of their employees stayed away from work for several days in the last three months with flu-like symptoms resembling those of the chikungunya virus (chik-V).

This was among the findings of an unscientific survey conducted by the Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF) to try to understand the impact the chik-V outbreak has had on the workforce in the private sector.

David Wan, president of the JEF, revealed that the 53 companies represented a small fraction of the 238 large to medium-size private-sector companies that were asked to participate in the survey.

Despite this, Wan asserted that the sample size was enough to suggest that as much as 90 per cent of all companies in Jamaica would have experienced "some level of increased absenteeism" because of symptoms similar to those of the chikungunya virus.

"That is the major, major point," Wan told The Gleaner, even as he declined to go into the details of the findings until JEF executives have a chance to discuss them.

He said in total, the 53 companies reported 743 suspected chik-V cases, but sought to make it clear that there were no confirmed cases among them.

Wan said the survey also showed that for a number of reasons, all but one of these cases were never reported to the health ministry.

"The lesson there is a low level of reporting ... primarily because most people never got tested. They just stayed home, took the Panadol and the vitamin C, and dealt with it that way," he noted.

The JEF president admitted that the survey did not measure the production hours lost because of the increased absenteeism.