Definition of latent period in US English:

latent period


  • 1Medicine
    The period between infection with a virus or other microorganism and the onset of symptoms, or between exposure to radiation and the appearance of a cancer.

    • ‘It is generally assumed that episodes of brain cancer that appear after latent periods of less than 10 years are merely coincidental associations, not sentinel indicators of causation.’
    • ‘There is generally a latent period of 20 to 40 years between the occurrence of rheumatic fever and the onset of symptoms.’
    • ‘After asbestos exposure, asbestosis becomes evident only after an appreciable latent period.’
    • ‘We report two cases of hidradenitis suppurativa in which squamous cell carcinoma developed after a latent period of 20 years and 35 years, respectively, despite repeated local excisions.’
    • ‘Clinically apparent asbestosis occurs only after a significant latent period.’
    • ‘Expect a 3-to 6-week latent period before the full effect is seen at therapeutic doses.’
    • ‘As with tobacco, there will be a latent period between the onset of smoking and the development of lung damage, cardiovascular disease, or malignant change.’
    • ‘There is a long latent period of 20-40 years between exposure and disease expression.’
  • 2Physiology
    The delay between the receipt of a stimulus by a sensory nerve and the response to it.