Sunday, August 7, 2022

Study: Chickenpox causes significant loss in productivity every year

He said policy decisions about preventing and treating health conditions are important and should also take into account the indirect costs of these conditions.

Childhood chickenpox causes £24 million in income and productivity losses in the UK each year, according to a study by Rafael Wittenberg, Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science and colleagues from the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre. LSE).

Although the direct medical costs of chickenpox have been widely reported, less is known about the indirect social costs of chickenpox, such as caring for a child with the virus, according to the study authors. He said policy decisions about preventing and treating health conditions are important and should also take into account the indirect costs of these conditions.

The aim of the study was to estimate indirect costs in terms of productivity loss in chickenpox among caregivers for children 15 years of age and younger in the UK, as measured by the number of days spent caring for a child with chickenpox. and the estimated cost to society of the loss of production for each working day.

The research team analyzed all economic studies published in English that report on the cost of chickenpox in any country or the cost of other childhood diseases in the UK. In total, 23 peer-reviewed studies were included as of March 2021.

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In addition, the researchers invited more than 1,500 parents of children ages 1 to 11 to complete an online survey to determine whether any of their children had ever had chickenpox, and if so. if they missed school or nursery because of chickenpox. Additionally, they were asked how many days they had missed, and whether they, their spouse, or other family member had taken time off from work to care for their children with chickenpox and how many days.

In all, 1526 survey respondents reported on 2283 children, of whom 52% had previously contracted chickenpox. About half of children with chickenpox take time off from school or nursery, and in about half of cases, an adult took time off from work to care for a child, missing about 5 days per child.

Working women were more likely than working men to care for sick children, and there was a large gender gap for unemployed women and men. However, partnership status, ethnicity, housing tenure, household income, and whether or not the defendant was the only adult in the household did not differ significantly in the number of workdays lost.

For productivity loss, the survey findings were applied to chickenpox incidence data derived from general practitioner (GP) consultation rates, taking into account that not all cases of chickenpox are reported through GP consultations. Average income was calculated using the annual income of survey respondents who missed work, and using data on annual survey hours and income for family members who missed work.

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The research team calculated the daily cost of lost productivity to be around £170, with an estimated 200,000 GP consultations per year for chickenpox.

“Chickenpox, while rarely causing serious illness, results in loss of school or nursery days in young children and loss of workdays by their parents. The resulting lost productivity should be considered when chickenpox Decisions are made about policies to prevent this,” Wittenberg said in a press release. “And since the number of children diagnosed with chickenpox can be much greater than the number of GP consultations, the true annual value of lost productivity is likely to be substantially more than £24 million.”

Limitations of the study included not being able to recall events that were not completely accurate and, according to the study authors, the number of respondents who provided information on work days was far less than the sample size.


Actual cost of chickenpox: There is a reduction in productivity of at least £24 million a year in the UK. Eurek Alert! April 24, 2022. Accessed April 27, 2022.

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