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Definition of Latent

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.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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