prophylaxis (prōˌfĭlăkˈsĭs) [key], measures designed to prevent the occurrence of disease or its dissemination. Some examples of prophylaxis are immunization against serious diseases such as smallpox or diphtheria; quarantine to confine communicable disease; public health measures to ensure the safety of food, milk, and water; the care of teeth to offset decay; and restrictions put on persons with such disorders as diabetes or heart disease to prevent the aggravation of these conditions.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.