Latent hamster virus See Hamster polyomavirus

latent infection An infection in which infectious virus is not demonstrable until activated. The classic example is that of Human herpesvirus 1 infection of the dorsal root ganglia between episodes of 'cold sores'. Only a small region of the virus genome is expressed during latency yielding 'latency-associated transcripts' (LATs), and no infectious virus can be found. The role of the LATs is unclear, as they are not essential to maintain latency. In response to certain stimuli, such as immunosuppression, UV light, hormonal changes or stress, reactivation may occur with production of infectious virus and the reappearance of 'cold sores'. The exact mechanism by which reactivation occurs is unknown. All herpesviruses appear to be capable of establishing latent infections in the nervous system of their hosts. The term 'latency' is sometimes more widely applied to indicate the presence of integrated viral DNA (of, e.g., adeno-associated viruses or retroviruses) in cells, but this is clearly a different phenomenon from true latency, which appears to be unique to the Herpesviridae.

Krause PR et al (1995) J Exp Med 181, 297

latent period In experimental infection, the time between the disappearance of the infecting virus and the appearance of new virus in the surrounding medium. See also eclipse period.

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