abortive infection[ə′bȯrd·iv in′fek·shən]
in microbiology, contamination of a bacterial cell by a bacteriophage, after which neither reproduction of the phage particles and lysis (dissolution) of the bacterium nor lysogenesis occurs. Treatment of the contaminated cell with various substances, starvation of the bacteria in advance, the absence of calcium ions, and other influences can obstruct the reproduction of the phage in the cell. There are bacterial mutants in which contamination by a phage is confined to an abortive infection. The mechanisms of these processes vary.
In medicine the term “abortive infection” is used to designate the shortened course of an infectious disease that has few symptoms.