Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Latency and Incubation Periods
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 ...