A systematic review and meta-analysis on the incubation period of Campylobacteriosis

A. Awofisayo-Okuyelu*, I. Hall, G. Adak, J. I. Hawker, S. Abbott, N. McCarthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Accurate knowledge of pathogen incubation period is essential to inform public health policies and implement interventions that contribute to the reduction of burden of disease. The incubation period distribution of campylobacteriosis is currently unknown with several sources reporting different times. Variation in the distribution could be expected due to host, transmission vehicle, and organism characteristics, however, the extent of this variation and influencing factors are unclear. The authors have undertaken a systematic review of published literature of outbreak studies with well-defined point source exposures and human experimental studies to estimate the distribution of incubation period and also identify and explain the variation in the distribution between studies. We tested for heterogeneity using I2 and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests, regressed incubation period against possible explanatory factors, and used hierarchical clustering analysis to define subgroups of studies without evidence of heterogeneity. The mean incubation period of subgroups ranged from 2.5 to 4.3 days. We observed variation in the distribution of incubation period between studies that was not due to chance. A significant association between the mean incubation period and age distribution was observed with outbreaks involving only children reporting an incubation of 1.29 days longer when compared with outbreaks involving other age groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2241-2253
Number of pages13
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Gastrointestinal Infections at University of Liverpool in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with University of East Anglia, University of Oxford and the Institute of Food Research. Ian Hall is partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London and in Modelling Methodology at Imperial, both in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), he is also a Member of NIHR Health Protection Research Units in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections and Gastrointestinal Infections at Liverpool. Adedoyin Awofisayo-Okuyelu is based at University of Oxford. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health or Public Health England.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017.


  • Bacterial infections
  • campylobacter
  • food-borne zoonoses
  • gastrointestinal infections
  • outbreaks


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