Wilderness Medicine, First Aid, and Outdoor Skills
Incubation Periods

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Appendix F: Glossary

Due to many requests from individuals wanting information regarding incubation periods, defined as the time between actual exposure and the manifestation of symptoms, Survive Outdoors felt it would be handy not only for the medical provider but also for the lay person, to have a list of common organisms, typical symptoms, source of the bacteria and incubation period. Please feel free to print this off for your use.

Illness Incubation Period Symptoms Source
Staphylococcus Aurous 2-4 hours Usually sudden onset, Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Fever can be absent. GI cramping. Meat products, dressings, gravy, milk, cheese.
Clostridium Botulinum 12-36 hours Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Fever uncommon. Can get double/blurred vision. Weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, hard to swallow. Canned vegetables & other foods including meats and fruits.
Shigella 24-48 hours Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea & fever. Watery stools with blood & mucous. Potatoes, tuna, shrimp, turkey, macaroni salad, milk. Water contamination is usually the carrier.
E-coli 12-36 hours Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea & fever, malaise, infants are very susceptible. Raw vegetables, fruits milk & cheese, coffee lighteners.
Giardia Lambia 1-4 weeks Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea & fever, usually fatty stools, weight-loss, distention. Water, can be raw foods.

The following is a list of other illnesses and their incubation periods:

    • Amebiasis: 3-5 weeks
    • Anthrax: 1-7 days
    • Aspergillosis: Variable
    • Babesiosis: Variable
    • Candidiasis: Variable
    • Cat Scratch Disease: 7-14 days
    • Chagas Disease 5-14 days
    • Chicken Pox 13-17 days
    • Diptheria 2-5 days
    • Gonorrhea 3-4 days
    • Hepatitis A 2-7 weeks
    • Hepatitis B 7-26 weeks
    • Herp Angina 3-5 days
    • Herpes Simplex 1-14 days
    • Histoplasmosis 5-18 days
    • Influenza 24-72 hours
    • Larva Migrans Variable
    • Leprosy 3-5 years
    • Legionnaires Disease 3-5 days
    • Measles 10 days
    • Malaria 8 days to 4 weeks
    • Bacterial Meningitis Variable
    • Viral Meningitis Variable
    • Mononucleosis 2-6 weeks
    • Mumps 18 days
    • Pertussis 7-10 days
    • Bubonic Plague 2-6 days
    • Psittacosis 4-15 days
    • Rabies 4-6 weeks
    • Rat Bite Fever 3-10 days
    • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever 3-10 days
    • Smallpox 9-12 days
    • Tetanus 4-21 days
    • Typhoid Fever 7-21 days
    • Yellow Fever 3-6 days

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Conjunctivitis simply means that the conjunctiva of the eye becomes red and inflamed. There are several types of “Pink Eye,” allergic, viral, bacterial, and chemically-induced. Bacterial conjunctivitis is a condition with which most of us are familiar, and has an incubation period of 24-72 hours. Allergic conjunctivitis, the results of allergens in the air, usually occurs within 24 hours of the allergen exposure.

Survive Outdoors hopes that this list is helpful to you. Obviously this is not an all inclusive list, but we hope that reviewing this list will offer you a differential regarding symptoms you may be having. Should you have any symptoms that are concerning and last more than 2 days, you should seek out a healthcare provider.

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