BMC Infect Dis. 2022 Nov 9;22(1):828. doi: 10.1186/s12879-022-07822-4.
BACKGROUND: The incubation period of an infectious disease is defined as the elapsed time between the exposure to the pathogen and the onset of symptoms. Although both the mRNA-based and the adenoviral vector-based vaccines have shown to be effective, there have been raising concerns regarding possible decreases in vaccine effectiveness for new variants and variations in the incubation period.
METHODS: We conducted a unicentric observational study at the Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, Barcelona, using a structured telephone survey performed by trained interviewers to estimate the incubation period of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant in a cohort of Spanish hospitalized patients. The distribution of the incubation period was estimated using the generalized odds-rate class of regression models.
RESULTS: From 406 surveyed patients, 242 provided adequate information to be included in the analysis. The median incubation period was 2.8 days (95%CI: 2.5-3.1) and no differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients were found. Sex and age are neither shown not to be significantly related to the COVID-19 incubation time.
CONCLUSIONS: Knowing the incubation period is crucial for controlling the spread of an infectious disease: decisions on the duration of the quarantine or on the periods of active monitoring of people who have been at high risk of exposure depend on the length of the incubation period. Furthermore, its probability distribution is a key element for predicting the prevalence and the incidence of the disease.