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Incidence and prevalence, however, are very frequent and are the main measures used in determining different aspects of disease frequency as will be discussed.
The term incidence refers to the frequency of the emergence of new disease cases in previously unaffected population (Hennekens et al., 1987). Measuring the incidence allows researchers to assess the impacts of the new disease in the population and the rate at which this disease would spread in a given period. Incidence is measured through two main methods; incidence rate and incidence risk. Incidence rate is the estimation of the frequency of disease with regards to the population of unaffected individuals and the total period of time when the general population was observed. It is computed by taking the number of disease cases in the population and dividing it by the total count of person-time units (Aschengrau & Seage, 2008). Incidence rate is significant in estimating the rate of the disease on the general population rather than a single individual.
Incidence risk is the percentage of unaffected individuals who eventually develop the disease in a given period. As such, this measure solely relates to the amount of time when the research is being carried out. Incidence risk is calculated by dividing the number of individuals who develop the disease in a given time by the population of unaffected individuals at the beginning of the study. Incidence risk is effective in assessing the extensiveness of the disease thus allowing epidemiologists and medical researchers to find suitable solutions and mitigation measures possible of curbing the spread of the disease as well as serving in the treatment of the affected population (Marchevsky, 2000).
Prevalence revolves around the percentage of individuals affected by the disease within a given population radius at a given time. It is commonly computed by getting the number of affected individuals
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