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Definition of Latent

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Latent: Hidden, dormant, inactive.

The virus that causes chickenpox remains latent after the initial attack of chickenpox is over. When it becomes reactivated, usually many years later, the virus causes shingles.

HIV may remain in a small long-lived population of infected T cells. These cells provide a source for renewed replication of the virus following the cessation of therapy.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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