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Using an Epi Curve to Determine Most Likely Period of Exposure

Incubation Period

To determine the most likely period of exposure for an outbreak, you need to know the average incubation period for the disease and the range of incubation periods, which are the minimum and maximum reported incubation periods.

The incubation period is the time from exposure to the causative agent until the first symptoms develop and is characteristic for each disease agent.

Example: Shiga toxin-producing E. coli has an average incubation period of 3-4 days with a range from a minimum of 2 days to a maximum of 10 days.