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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
[P.sub.k] = incubation period, (k = Day 1 and Day 16),
The experimental design was completely randomized, with a factorial arrangement of 7 x 5 x 4 + 1 (essential oils x concentrations x incubation periods + fungicide (additional treatment)), with five replicates, consisting of one Petri dish each.
Even a five-day decrease in the incubation period can hike transmission rate by three times, and with an increase in temperature from 17 to 30 degrees Celsius, dengue transmission increases fourfold, the results showed.
This study is centered to see the effect of the incubation period on ALP enzyme activity at 37[degrees]C.
For the primary case set, our estimates for incubation period were median 6.2 (95% CI 5.7--6.6) days (Figure 1, panel B) and mean 6.4 (95% CI 5.7-7.0) days.
However, to the best of our knowledge, there are no reports on quantitative detection of Pst in wheat leaves in the incubation period of wheat stripe rust using NIRS.
Statistical analysis depicted that colchicine (450 mg l-1) with incubation period of 11 days had a stimulative effect on most traits.
The whiteflies were allowed for a minimum AAP of 24h on YMV infected plant to determine the incubation period. Groups of 10 viruliferous whiteflies were released on 10 healthy ridge gourd plants after 30min, 1h, 6h, 12h and 24h of incubation period.
Most of the rabies cases have an incubation period in the range of 31 to 90 days.
We also find that the probability of a quicker release of a fund is positively associated with incubation period performance, objective inflows, and family inflows.
The study in the journal Science examined a peculiar habit of zebra finches, which sing to their eggs particularly when the weather is hot -- above 26 Celsius -- and the end of their incubation period is near.
It contaminates water, meat, dairy and poultry products, vegetables and fruits with an incubation period of 12 to 72 hours.