News / Utah / 

Sick employees being blamed for spreading H1N1 at rapid rate



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Physicians and health care workers in private clinics fear the swine flu is spreading rapidly because sick people are going back to work too early.

KSL visited the Jordan Meadows Medical Clinic in West Jordan Thursday where people there are continually testing positive for influenza. The same thing is happening at its partner clinic in Magna, and these are just two among hundreds of clinics in the valley.

Physician assistant Jackie Fonua says while this influenza is mild, for the most part, it's rapidly spreading, moving in the past two weeks like a ground swell. "In the last fifteen years, I've never seen a flu that has spread this fast," she said.

The misconception came in the beginning of this outbreak when people were told about the mild symptoms. The numbers did not paint an accurate picture. "No one was really warned how fast this was spreading," Fonua said.

Fonua believes some people worry that their jobs may be in jeopardy if they stay home seven days.

"People don't want to be without money,especially now," she said. "But when they go to work, and employers are letting them go back to work with these symptoms, they're going to have their entire staff out."

Many getting sick may have limited sick leave or no sick leave at all. During our visit, Dale Thomson was awaiting his diagnosis saying, "Yeah, five to seven days would hurt a little bit; use up all my sick time and then have to use some of my vacation time."

Fortunately, the current H1N1 virus is not potent, but it's better to learn the lesson now, Fonua says, than suffer the consequences if and when it does turn nastier. "Stay home. Stay home until you're better," she said.

Some employers have become pro-active. University of Utah employees are expected to stay home at least seven days. But even then, if the fever lingers but goes away on day eight, you should stay home an additional 24 hours after that.

E-mail: eyeates@ksl.com

Related Links

Ed Yeates

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast