Estimation of serial interval and incubation period of tuberculosis using DNA fingerprinting

A. H.A. Ten Asbroek, M. W. Borgdorff, N. J.D. Nagelkerke, M. M.G.G. Šebek, W. Devillé, J. D.A. Van Embden, D. Van Soolingen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency distributions of serial interval and incubation period of tubercolosis within 4 years of transmission, and to identify correlates of serial intervals and incubation periods. METHODS: DNA fingerprints were obtained for all isolates from all culture-positive patients notified in The Netherlands from 1993 to 1996. Patient information was obtained from the National Tuberculosis Register. Results from contact investigations were provided by public health services. Source cases and secondary cases of tuberculosis were identified, based on 1) identical DNA fingerprints, and 2) epidemiological confirmation of contact. Under-representation of long intervals were corrected for by weighting cases. RESULTS: A total of 69 source-secondary case couples were identified. The geometric mean serial interval was 29.5 weeks (95% confidence interval [CI] 22.8-38.2 weeks) and the geometric mean incubation period 20.8 weeks (95% CI 15.5-27.8 weeks). Serial intervals and incubation periods tended to increase with age (P > 0.05). Three secondary cases with human immunodeficiency virus infection showed very short incubation periods (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Using a new methodology, the distribution of incubation periods of tuberculosis gave results consistent with earlier studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-420
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA fingerprints
  • Incubation period
  • Serial interval
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases


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