Incubation period

The epidemiological term, the incubation period (IP) is the time between exposure to something pathogenic (including radiation, microbes or chemicals) and when the pathology first becomes apparent by symptoms. Some authors use the terms latent period and incubation period to mean the same period of time. Patients with an infectious disease during its incubation period may or may not be contagious depending upon the characteristics of the specific disease.