Standard Article

Latent Period

  1. Wai-yuan Tan1,
  2. Chao W. Chen2

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0470011815.b2a03079

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

How to Cite

Tan, W.-y. and Chen, C. W. 2005. Latent Period. Encyclopedia of Biostatistics. 4.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA

  2. 2

    US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Different definitions of latency used in the biological and statistical literature have been reviewed and illustrated by examples. In particular, a distinction has been made between the biological latent period and the epidemiological latent period. This article also discusses the latency of infectious diseases, such as the incubation period of HIV and the time to tumors in cancers. Some stochastic models of the time period to cancer tumors and its applications have been discussed in some detail.


  • biological latent period;
  • epidemiological latent period;
  • infectious diseases;
  • incubation period of HIV;
  • latent period of cancer;
  • time to cancer tumors