Latency describes the persistence of a microorganism within its host in the absence of clinical symptoms of disease. Both microorganism and host benefit from induction of latency: the microorganism establishes a stable environment that facilitates survival, and the host avoids progressive damage and disease. Latent states have been observed in bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infectious diseases, though the mechanisms differ within each microorganism and host pair. In this issue, a Review Series on Latency in Infectious Disease explores the different strategies that various microorganisms use to achieve latency. Conceptualized by JCI’s Deputy Editor Arturo Casadevall, the series highlights the latency mechanisms employed by herpesviruses, HIV, Cryptococcus neoformans
, and Toxoplasma gondii
. In addition to describing mechanisms, the reviews outline the detrimental effects of latent disease and recent progress toward treatment and eradication.