Results of herpes simplex virus (HSV) isolation from a series of human postmortem trigeminal, thoracic and sacral ganglia were correlated with the HSV antibody type(s) detected in the sera by radioimmunoassay (RIA). HSV type 1 was isolated from trigeminal ganglia of 44 out of 90 individuals, from thoracic ganglia of 1 out of 25, and from sacral ganglia of 1 out of 68 cases. HSV type 2 was recovered from sacral ganglia of 8 out of 68 individuals. In all cases in which an HSV was isolated from ganglia and serum was available for testing, homologous, type-specific antibody was demonstrable, and in a few instances antibody to the heterologous HSV was also detected. In those individuals in which HSV type 1 was isolated from trigeminal ganglia and HSV type 2 from sacral ganglia, antibody to both virus types was present in the sera, indicating that simultaneous latent infections with each of the two viruses can occur, and that antibody is produced to each virus independently. Antibody to HSV type 1, 2 or both types was demonstrated in 8 out of 10 cases in which virus isolation attempts were negative, suggesting either a higher sensitivity of RIA for detecting HSV infection, or the presence of latent HSV at some other site in the body which was not sampled.


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