• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Latency and Incubation Periods

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

The starting point of a communicable disease is the exposure of the host to the infectious agent. When communicable diseases are considered as a whole, two different processes have to be distinguished in their evolution over time: infectiveness and disease. Infectiveness consists of two successive periods: the latency period and the period of communicability. The disease process encompasses the incubation period and the clinical signs and symptoms. Whereas the knowledge of infectiveness is of paramount importance for microbiological, pharmacological, and public health purposes, the main interest in the disease process hinges on the clinical care of the patient.

The incubation period is the time that elapses between the initial exposure of the host to the infectious agent and the first appearance of the clinical manifestations (signs ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles