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Defining Feature 1: Latency Periods

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Chapter Summary

Bubonic plague epidemics have a distinctive temporal pattern of development from the introduction of plague contagion into a rat colony in a locality to the first human case or cases which can usefully be divided into several phases namely the temporal pattern of plague-infected rats and fleas, temporal pattern of the first human case or cases, latency period, endemic phase, and transition from the endemic into the epidemic phase and the full latency period. The recognition of the existence of a latency period belongs to the very early days of modern plague research. The latent period is also described by the IPRC, now with an accurate temporal and factual description of the epizootic process among the rats, the consequent release of infective fleas, their subsequent attack on human beings in their proximity, and the duration of the incubation period and the course of illness.

Keywords: bubonic plague; latency period; rat colony



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