epidemic curve

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The diagrammatic representation of the course of an epidemic, which varies according to the nature and cause of the epidemic. For instance, a food-borne epidemic caused by contamination of a food item in a particular meal has an explosive onset, in which many people are affected simultaneously, then a rapid reduction and cessation; an epidemic that spreads from person to person from an initial index case has a slower onset and more protracted course, dying down slowly as the number of susceptible persons declines.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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