Wuhan virus incubation period lasts up to 24 days: Chinese expert

Mean incubation period estimated to be 3 days, some people show symptoms after less than one day

  41356
Doctors scan a patient's lungs at Huoshenshan temporary hospital built for patients diagnosed with coronavirus in Wuhan.

Doctors scan a patient's lungs at Huoshenshan temporary hospital built for patients diagnosed with coronavirus in Wuhan. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The incubation period for the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) can last up to 24 days, according to a study by renowned Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan (鍾南山).

The study finds that the average incubation period of the virus is 3 days but that it can take as little as one day and as long as 24 days for a patient to develop symptoms. Only 1.18 percent of cases so far had direct contact with wildlife, whereas 31.3 percent had been to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and 71.8 percent had been in close contact with someone from the city.

An analysis of patients’ symptoms indicates that fever and coughing are the most common, registering 87.9 percent and 67.7 percent, respectively. Nevertheless, only 43.8 percent of patients exhibited fever at an early stage, suggesting that body temperature cannot be viewed as a major factor in diagnosis.

Diarrhea and vomiting are uncommon, having been experienced by only 3.7 percent and 5 percent of the total patients. Around 25.2 percent of the confirmed cases had underlying illnesses such as hypertension.

Pneumonia is the most common complication suffered by patients at 79.1 percent. The median age of the cases involved is 47 years, and 41.9 percent have been female.

The study, which was the largest to date on the novel coronavirus, was based on 1,099 samples collected from 552 hospitals in 31 provincial-level administrative divisions of China. It was published Sunday (Feb. 9) on medRxiv, a preprint server for health reports awaiting peer review.

The new virus has infected over 40,000 as of Monday (Feb. 10), with the majority of cases in China. The outbreak has claimed over 900 lives, more than the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, which resulted in 774 deaths.