Epidemiology Assignments


Relationship between Prevalence and Incidence

Prevalence depends upon 2 factors, the incidence and duration of illness.

i.e. P α I × D

Given the assumption that population is stable and incidence and duration are unchanging, the relation between incidence and prevalence can be expressed as

P = I × DP = Incidence × Mean Duration

So to know clearly about the relation about the relation, we have to know what these terms actuallymean. So these terms are described below.

Incidence Rate

Incidence Rate is defined as the number of new cases occurring in a frequency of populationduring a specified period of time. It measures the frequency of new cases of a disease in a given periodof time i.e. it measures the rate at which people without a disease develop the disease during a specified period of time.

Incidence rate = (No. of new cases of a specific disease during a given period of time


Populationat risk during that period ) × 1000

Thus incidence rate

Refers only to new cases

During a given period (usu. a year)

In specified population at risk 

Also refer to new spells or episodes of diseases arising in a given period of time per 1000 populationIncidence measures the rate at which new cases are occurring in a population. It is not influenced byduration of diseases. The use of incidence is usually restricted to acute condition.


Prevalence is a static measure of total number of affected individuals in a population at agiven time. The term disease prevalence refers especially to all current cases (older or new) existing at agiven point in time or over a period of time in a given population. A broader definition of prevalence isthe total no of all individuals who have an attribute or disease at a particular time (of during a particular  period) divided by the population at risk of having the attribute or disease at a point in time or midwaythrough the period. Prevalence can be interpreted as the probability of an individual from a populationhaving a disease at a specified point in time.Two types of prevalence are reported in the epidemiological literature:

1. Point or instantaneous prevalence rate



) which equals the number of disease cases in a population at a single point in time (a snapshot)

2. Period prevalence rate



) equals the point prevalence at the beginning of a study period plus the number of new cases that occurred during the remainder of the study period.

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