The key difference between asymptomatic and presymptomatic is that asymptomatic patients do not show symptoms for the disease and will never develop symptoms, while presymptomatic patients do not show symptoms but they will develop symptoms later.
Asymptomatic, presymptomatic, and symptomatic are three terms related to developing symptoms in infected people. All three terms are important when discussing the transmission of a particular disease. People who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic do not show symptoms though they are infected with the disease. Symptoms will not develop in asymptomatic people. Hence, they do not experience the symptoms of the infection. But in presymptomatic people, though they remain asymptomatic at the beginning, symptoms will develop later. Therefore, they experience symptoms a few days or weeks later during the infection.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Asymptomatic
3. What is Presymptomatic
4. Similarities – Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic
5. Asymptomatic vs Presymptomatic in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Asymptomatic vs Presymptomatic
What is Asymptomatic?
Asymptomatic people do not show symptoms, and they will never experience the symptoms during the entire course of infection. Asymptomatic people are also carriers of the infection, and they can spread the disease without knowledge. But asymptomatic people are less likely to spread the disease compared to presymptomatic and symptomatic people. They pose a lower risk of transmission of the disease. The disease will only be detected in asymptomatic people when they undergo a medical test.
When considering Covid-19 disease, according to guidelines, 1 in 5 people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Generally, asymptomatic people are the healthiest people. Often, younger age groups, including children, are asymptomatic for SARS-CoV-2 infection. When considering Cytomegalovirus (CMV), the majority of infected newborns are asymptomatic. In multiple sclerosis, around 25% of the cases are asymptomatic.
What is Presymptomatic?
Presymptomatic patients are the infected people that do not show symptoms yet. They will experience symptoms later after several days of infection. Therefore, presymptomatic people initially remain as asymptomatic people, but they will later display symptoms. Presymptomatic patients anyhow will experience symptoms during the infection, unlike asymptomatic patients. They are carriers of the disease. While feeling healthy, they can spread the disease to others. When considering the presymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 disease, they are considered the most contagious. SARS-CoV-2 can spread from presymptomatic patients at least 48 hours before the symptoms develop.
What are the Similarities Between Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic?
- Both asymptomatic and presymptomatic patients do not show symptoms of the disease.
- Both patients are infected with the disease.
- They are carriers of the disease, and they show a higher probability and also a greater risk of spreading the disease.
What is the Difference Between Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic?
Asymptomatic is the term used to refer to infected people who do not show symptoms of the disease during the entire course of infection. On the other hand, presymptomatic is the term used to refer to infected people who do not show symptoms yet but will go on to develop symptoms later. This is the key difference between asymptomatic and presymptomatic. Moreover, asymptomatic people pose a lower risk of disease transmission than presymptomatic people.
The following table summarizes the difference between asymptomatic and presymptomatic.
Summary – Asymptomatic vs Presymptomatic
Asymptomatic and presymptomatic are two of the three classifications of a disease based on the appearance of symptoms. Asymptomatic people do not show symptoms. They will not experience symptoms during the course of infection. Presymptomatic people also do not show symptoms yet. But they will go on to develop symptoms later. Therefore, they will experience the symptoms. Both asymptomatic and presymptomatic people have the infection, and both are carriers of the infection. Compared to presymptomatic people, asymptomatic people are less likely to spread the disease. In other words, asymptomatic people pose a lower risk of spreading the disease compared to presymptomatic people. Thus, this summarizes the difference between asymptomatic and presymptomatic.
1. Lowth, Mary. “Coronavirus: What Are Asymptomatic and Mild COVID-19?” Patient.info, 8 Jan. 2021.