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Morbidity (from Latin morbidus "sick") is a statistical variable in epidemiology, the ratio of the number of sick people to that of the entire living population and thus the incidence of illness in relation to a certain population group. Morbidity is an umbrella term for the prevalence (percentage of those already infected) and the incidence (rate of new cases within a given period of time) of a disease . The probability of the disease can be estimated on the basis of the morbidity rate.

In practice, the term is also often used for the incidence of complications or secondary diseases in general. Example: "The endoscopic procedure XY has a significantly lower morbidity and mortality compared to the open operation ".

Differentiation from similar terms

As mortality is defined as the ratio of the number of deaths to the population and therefore, the mortality rate related to a total or partial population; it is therefore a term used in general statistics on causes of death and, applied to epidemiology, indicates the proportion of the population that dies from an illness. The mortality rate is the ratio of number of deaths to that of the patients and thus describes the death rate of the cancer patients. The survival rate refers to the probability of survival after the diagnosis of a disease .

See also


  • Hans von Kress (ed.): Müller - Seifert . Pocket book of medical-clinical diagnostics. 69th edition. Published by JF Bergmann, Munich 1966, p. 4.

Web links

Wiktionary: Morbidity  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Krämer, Reintjes (Ed.): Infektionsepidemiologie , Springer, 2003, p. 172.
  2. ↑ Protection against infection and infection epidemiology . Technical terms - definitions - interpretations, Robert Koch Institute 2015