Incubation Period

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incubation period

[‚iŋ·kyə′bā·shən ‚pir·ē·əd]
The period of time required for the development of symptoms of a disease after infection, or of altered reactivity after exposure to an allergen.
(vertebrate zoology)
The brooding period required to bring an egg to hatching.

Incubation Period


(or incubation), the time interval from the moment of infection to the appearance of the clinical symptoms of a disease.

For each infectious disease, the incubation period has a characteristic length, although the length may vary depending on the number of microbes that entered the body, their pathogenicity, the physical condition of the body itself (previous traumas and illnesses, malnutrition, vitamin deficiency), and the site of entry of the infection. Vaccination, seroprophylaxis, and chemotherapy prolong the incubation period.

Table 1. Length of incubation periods of some infectious diseases
 Length of incubation period (in days)
Most frequent “average”MinimumMaximum
Rabies . . . . . . .40123-6 months (rarely up to 1 year)
Botulism . . . . . .12-24 hours1-2 hours1 (rarely more)
Brucellosis . . . . .14720-30
Typhoid fever . . .143–421
Chicken pox . . . .11–141021
Influenza . . . . . .2a few hours3
Dysentery . . . . .32 hours7
Diphtheria . . . . .527–10
Whooping cough .7–9214–15
Measles . . . . . .8–10717 and 21 (with injection of serum)
Malaria . . . . . . .10–15631 (in tertian malaria, sometimes 7–11 months)
Epidemic parotitis (mumps) . . . . . .11921
Poliomyelitis . . . . .7–14335
Scarlet fever . . .3–6a few hours7–12
Tetanus . . . . . . .7–14140 (sometimes upon removal of splinters, a few years)
Typhus . . . . . . .12–14620
Tularemia . . . . . . .8121
Epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis2–3a few hours7
Foot-and-mouth disease . . . . .426

In some infectious diseases (such as measles and diphtheria) causative agents are discharged into the environment during the incubation period; this leads to the infection of other persons. The length of the incubation period is important in discovering the source of infection and sometimes also for establishing a diagnosis.


References in periodicals archive ?
Although, Zn available in soils treated with fertilisers depended on incubation time, fertiliser, and Zn rate, it was always higher than the minimum required for the growing plants.
dagger]) Values represent the percent decrease in mean incubation time of isolates in Tg(CerPrP-E226)[5037.
In initial pilot studies we observed that incubation time, temperature, and pH are critical determinants for optimum folate deconjugation in WB hemolysates.
It will examine the effect of varying drug incubation times, followed by a standardized light dose using the BLU-U(R).
The main effects of three forages, four spices and four levels and their interactions on each of the IVD and IVOMD were considered for each incubation time.
To increase leukocyte capture, various experimental conditions, such as the antibody fixing time, incubation time, and leukocyte concentration, were optimized.
The one-day HER2 IQFISH approach is a potent method for the determination of HER2 status offering some relevant advances further to the short incubation time, including enhanced tissue integrity and preserved fluorescent signal intensity when compared with the conventional HER2 FISH kit.
If the incubation time is 30 years, then we are only at the beginning.
The method was developed using several preliminary experiments identifying incubation time, inorganic P fate and Qio values.
The DM digestibility was not different between control and MC addition at initial incubation time (0 h), and then became significantly different through the increasing incubation time.