Definition:

  • This guideline includes information about the transmission of common infections
  • Incubation Period: Time interval between exposure to the infection and onset of symptoms
  • Contagious Period: Time interval during which a sick child's disease is contagious to others. With precautions, children sometimes can return to day care and school before this period is over
  • Infections that are not Contagious: Many common bacterial infections are not contagious (eg otitis media, sinusitis, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and bacteremia). Sexually-transmitted diseases are not contagious to children unless there is sexual contact or shared bathing

 

DISEASE

INCUBATION PERIOD (DAYS)

CONTAGIOUS PERIOD (DAYS)

Chickenpox

10-21

2 days before rash until all sores have crusts - (6-7 days)

Fifth disease (Erythema infectiosum)

4-14 

7 days before rash until rash begins

Hand, foot, and mouth disease

3-6

Onset of mouth ulcers until fever gone

Impetigo (strep or staph)

2-5

Onset of sores until 24 hours on antibiotic

Lice

7

Onset of itch until 1 treatment

Measles

8-12

4 days before rash until rash gone (7 days)

Roseola

9-10

Onset of fever until rash gone (2 days

Rubella (German measles)

14-21

7 days before rash until rash gone (4 days)

Scabies

30-45

Onset of rash until 1 treatment

Scarlet fever

3-6

Onset of fever or rash until 24 hours on antibiotic

Shingles (contagious for chicken pox)

14-16

Onset of rash until all sores have crusts (7 days) (Note: No need to isolate if sores can be kept covered.)

Warts

30-180 

Minimally contagious

 

 


 

Skin Infections/Rashes:
Respiratory Infections:


DISEASE

INCUBATION PERIOD (DAYS)

CONTAGIOUS PERIOD (DAYS)

Bronchiolitis

4-6

Onset of cough until 7 days

Colds

2-5

Onset of runny nose until fever gone

Cold sores (herpes)

2-12

*Footnote 1

Coughs (viral) or croup (viral)

2-5

Onset of cough until fever gone

Diphtheria

2-5

Onset of sore throat until 4 days on antibiotic

Influenza

1-2

Onset of cough until fever gone

Sore throat, strep

2-5

Onset of sore throat until 24 hours on antibiotic

Sore throat, viral

2-5

Onset of sore throat until fever gone

Tuberculosis

6-24 months

Until 2 weeks on drugs (Note: Most childhood TB is not contagious.)

Whooping cough

7-10

 Onset of runny nose until 5 days on antibiotic

*see footnote 1 at bottom of the page

 

 




Intestinal Infections:


DISEASE

INCUBATION PERIOD (DAYS)

CONTAGIOUS PERIOD (DAYS)

Diarrhea, bacterial

1-5

*Footnote 2 for Diarrhea Precautions

Diarrhea, giardia

7-28

*Footnote 2 for Diarrhea Precautions

Diarrhea, traveler's

1-6

*Footnote 2 for Diarrhea Precautions

Diarrhea, viral (Rotavirus)

1-3

*Footnote 2 for Diarrhea Precautions

Hepatitis A

14-50

2 weeks before jaundice begins until jaundice resolved (7 days)

Hepatitis B

50-180

2 weeks before jaundice begins until jaundice resolved (7 days)

Pinworms

21-28

Minimally contagious, staying home is unnecessary

Vomiting, viral

2-5

Until vomiting stops




Other Infections:


DISEASE

INCUBATION PERIOD (DAYS)

CONTAGIOUS PERIOD (DAYS)

Infectious mononucleosis

30-50

Onset of fever until fever gone (7 days)

Meningitis, bacterial

 2-10

 7 days before symptoms until 24 hours on IV antibiotics in hospital

Mumps

12-25

5 days before swelling until swelling gone (7 days)

Pinkeye without pus (viral) 

1-5

Mild infection, staying home is unnecessary

Pinkeye with pus (bacterial)

2-7

Onset of pus until 1 day on antibiotic eyedrops

 

 

*Footnotes:

  1. Cold sores: younger than 6 years, contagious until cold sores are dry, 4-5 days. (No isolation if sores are on part of body that can be covered.) More than 6 years old, no isolation necessary if beyond touching, picking stage.
  2. Diarrhea Precautions: Contagious until stools are formed. Stay home until fever is gone, diarrhea is mild, blood and mucus are gone, and toilet-trained child has control over loose BMs. Shigella and E-coli 0157 require extra precautions.