Incubation period of new coronavirus can be as long as 24 days


The incubation period of a new strain of coronavirus currently ravaging China can be as long as 24 days, a new study has revealed.  

At present, scientists believe the novel coronavirus has an incubation period - the time between it entering the body and the last point at which it could cause symptoms - of around 14 days. 

And anyone suspected to be infected with the deadly disease is advised to be put under quarantine for two weeks right now in China and beyond. 

The fast-spreading disease has killed at least 910 people and infected more than 40,640 globally.

People can be infected by being exposed to virus-carrying saliva or touching contaminated surfaces. 

Beijing officials previously claimed that the disease could be contagious even before symptoms show. 

The new revelation emerged in a study published yesterday by a group of Chinese researchers on medRxiv, a preprint site for scientific medical papers.

The report was written by 37 specialists, including Dr Zhong Nanshan, who is the leader of a team of medical experts appointed by China's National Health Commission to deal with the novel coronavirus. 

The team collected data from 1,099 confirmed coronavirus patients at 552 hospitals in 31 Chinese provinces and municipalities, the report said.

Analysis found that the average incubation period was three days - shorter than 5.2 days suggested in a previous paper - but the range of the a patient's incubation period could extend from zero to 24 days.  

However, very few sufferers are believed to have shown symptoms after more than three weeks because the median figure is much closer to the lower end. 

One UK-based expert considered the findings 'worrying', but suggested that only a 'very small' number of patients were likely to have 'really long' incubation periods.

Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, University of East Anglia (UEA), said: 'The suggestion that the incubation period may extend up to 24 days is definitely worrying, especially for people currently in quarantine who may, therefore, expect to spend longer is isolation.'

He added: 'However, the median incubation period remains very short at 3 days. This means that a half of people who will get ill will have developed their illness within 3 days of the initial contact and the proportion of people with the really long incubation periods will be very small. 

He also raised the possibility of patients getting infected on more than one occasion. 

He said: 'One of the issues with particularly long incubation periods is that it is often very difficult to exclude the possibility that the person had not had a second unrelated contact. 

'Nevertheless, this new information illustrates is concerning and illustrates the need to be continuingly re-evaluating our risk assessments and advice.'

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk

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