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Prevalence

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Updated January 26, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: Prevalence describes how common a disease is in a population.

The prevalence of a disease is the number of people with the disease divided by the number of people in the population. This differs from incidence, which only looks at new infections.

The prevalence can also be thought of the number of people who are currently infected with a disease.

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