Distinct high frequency recurrence (HFRc) or low frequency recurrence (LFRc) phenotypes were observed following rabbit keratitis with three type 1 and five type 2 herpes simplex virus strains. LFRc strains were found to have latently infected the animal but were detected very rarely, if at all, in the eye following the acute phase. The recurrence phenotypes defined in singly infected animals remained unchanged following bilateral infection of the same animal with strains of opposite phenotype. Cocultivation of virus from bilaterally infected animals showed that both virus strains were capable of latently infecting the same animal. Restriction enzyme analysis of plaque-purified virus revealed that some ganglia were latently infected with both parental strains. Recombinants were also found. Some latently infected animals could be re-infected acutely. However, establishment of latency by the superinfecting strain was inhibited.


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