Zosteriform spread of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection occurs after primary inoculation of the skin of both outbred and inbred mice. With HSV type 1 strain SC16 few outbred animals died if they were inoculated when 8 weeks old whereas up to 50% of animals died if inoculated when 4 weeks old. However, at either age, zosteriform spread of infection occurred in almost all animals as it did when 4-week-old outbred animals were inoculated with the avirulent strain KOS. Thus, control of zosteriform spread must act by different mechanisms from those controlling the encephalitis which leads to death. During replication in the epidermis virus enters axons and could first be found in sensory ganglia 2 days after inoculation of the skin. Thereafter, it was found in the nerve roots and in skin within the same dermatome but remote from the site of inoculation. When sensory nerves to this latter area were cut during the 4 days after primary inoculation lesions developing as a result of zosteriform spread were either completely inhibited or, with later section, decreased in incidence. Mortality was not affected by such nerve section. Latent infection must be established in neurons serving areas of skin remote from the inoculation site since with HSV-1 strain SC16, recrudescent lesions on the pinna could be induced by stripping the skin of the ear when the original inoculation had been in the skin of the neck. Such recrudescent disease was not demonstrated in animals infected with HSV-1 strain KOS even though this virus efficiently established latent infection in sensory ganglia.


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