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Accurate knowledge of incubation period is important to investigate and to control infectious diseases and their transmission, however statements of incubation period in the literature are often uncited, inconsistent, and/or not evidence based.
In a systematic review of the literature on five enteric viruses of public health importance, Lee, et al. (2013) found 256 articles with incubation period estimates, including 33 with data for pooled analysis.
The researchers fit a log-normal distribution to pooled data and found the median incubation period to be 4.5 days (95% CI 3.9-5.2 days) for astrovirus, 1.2 days (95% CI 1.1-1.2 days) for norovirus genogroups I and II, 1.7 days (95% CI 1.5-1.8 days) for sapovirus, and 2.0 days (95% CI 1.4-2.4 days) for rotavirus.
Lee, et al. (2013)'s estimates combine published data and provide sufficient quantitative detail to allow for these estimates to be used in a wide range of clinical and modeling applications. This can translate into improved prevention and control efforts in settings with transmission or the risk of transmission. Their research was published in BMC Infectious Diseases.
Reference: Lee RM, Lessler J, et al. Incubation periods of viral gastroenteritis: a systematic review. BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:446 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-446