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MCQs in Tropical Medicine

Rob Skelly DTM+H FRCP

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Answer 13: Disease incubation periods

A woman who had not previously travelled abroad spent five days in Zambia. She went on safari on the fifth day and on the following day she became ill with fever and an erythematous rash. She is likely to be suffering from:

a. hepatitis A
b. loa loa
c. falciparum malaria
d. brucellosis
e. Hodgkin's disease

All false

A traveller who develops a fever in the tropics is likely to be suffering from an infectious disease. A neoplastic cause of fever, such as Hodgkin's disease, is possible but not likely.

Table 13.1

Infections with incubations of less than 10 days
dengue fever
yellow fever
rickettsial infections
falciparum malaria - the incubation period usually quoted for falciparum is 10-14 days. Occasionally it may be as short as 8 days.

Table 13.2

Infections with intermediate incubation periods (10-21 days)
African trypanosomiasis
enteric fever (7-21 days)
hepatitis A (2-6 weeks)

Table 13.3

Infections with long incubation periods
amoebic liver abscess
hepatitis B (45-160 days)


Copyright: Rob Skelly 2006