in·cu·bate / ˈinkyəˌbāt; ˈing-/ • v. [tr.] (of a bird) sit on (eggs) in order to keep them warm and bring them to hatching. ∎ (esp. in a laboratory) keep (eggs, cells, bacteria, embryos, etc.) at a suitable temperature so that they develop: the samples were incubated at 80°C for three minutes. ∎ (be incubating something) have an infectious disease developing inside one before symptoms appear: the possibility that she was incubating early syphilis. ∎ [intr.] develop slowly without outward or perceptible signs: unfortunately the BSE bug incubates for around three years.
The time that elapses between the invasion of a susceptible host by an infectious agent and the onset of symptoms of the disease caused by that agent is called the incubation period. The term is also used to describe the comparable period in the life cycle of parasitic pathogens that have an intermediate host. In such cases the phase is sometimes referred to as an extrinsic incubation period; while this time period in a human host is called an intrinsic incubation period. The length of the incubation period varies greatly; it could be a few hours in the case of staphylococcal food poisoning, many months for a disease such as rabies, or even years for leprosy. The latent period in the mosquito intermediate host of the malaria parasite is temperature-dependent; some pathologens (including malaria parasites) can survive during the prolonged hibernation of the insect vector during the cool dry season.
John M. Last
(see also: Latent Period )
in·cu·ba·tion / ˌinkyəˈbāshən; ˌing-/ • n. the process of incubating eggs, cells, bacteria, a disease, etc.: the chick hatches after a month's incubation. DERIVATIVES: in·cu·ba·tive / ˈinkyəˌbātiv; ˈing-/ adj. in·cu·ba·to·ry / inˈkyoōbəˌtôrē; ing-/ adj.
1. The process of maintaining the fertilized eggs of birds and of some reptiles and egg-laying mammals at the optimum temperature for the successful development of the embryos. A period of incubation follows the laying of the eggs and precedes their hatching.
2. The process of maintaining a culture of bacteria or other microorganisms at the optimum temperature for growth of the culture.
3. The phase in the development of an infectious disease between initial infection and the appearance of the first symptoms.
1. the process of development of an egg or a culture of bacteria.
2. the care of a premature baby in an incubator.