Our simulation runs found the secondary attack rate among unprotected HCWs to be approximately 60% higher (54.3%) as that of all adults (34.1%), which would result in substantial absenteeism and additional risk to HCW families. Understanding how a pandemic may affect HCWs, who must be available to treat infected patients as well as patients with other medical conditions, is crucial to policy makers' and hospital administrators' preparedness planning.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has identified health care workers (HCWs) as a priority group to receive influenza vaccine. Although the importance of HCW to the health care system is well understood, the potential role of HCW in transmission during an epidemic has not been clearly established.
Using a standard SIR (Susceptible-Infected-Recovered) framework similar to previously developed pandemic models, we developed an agent-based model (ABM) of Allegheny County, PA, that incorporates the key health care system features to simulate the spread of an influenza epidemic and its effect on hospital-based HCWs.