Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In medical jurisprudent The transmission of disease or disease germs from one person to another, either directly by contact with morbidly affected surfaces, or more remotely through inhalation, absorption of food or liquid tainted with ex-cremental matter, contact with contaminated clothing or bedding, or other agencies. A distinction is sometimes made between "infection" and "contagion," by restricting the latter term to the communication of disease by direct contact See Grayson v. Lynch, 163 U. S. 468, 16 Sup. Ct. 1064, 41 L. Ed. 230; Wirth v. State, 63 Wis. 51, 22 N. W. 860; Stryker v. Crane, 33 Neb. 690, 50 N. W. 1133. But "infection" is the wider term and in proper use includes "contagion," and is frequently extended so as to include the local inauguration of disease from other than human sources, as, from miasmas, poisonous plants, etc. In another, and perhaps more accurate sense, contagion is the entrance or lodgment of pathogenic germs in the system as a result of direct contact; infection is their fixation in the system or the inauguration of disease as a consequence. In this meaning, infection does not always result from contagion, and on the other hand it may result from the introduction of disease germs into the system otherwise than by contagion.