Following natural or experimental primary infection, herpes simplex virus (HSV) becomes latent in sensory ganglia. Reactivation of latent virus may lead to recurrent disease. If HSV DNA remains stable during primary, recurrent and latent infections, that stability would enable us to trace the transmission of HSV from one individual to another. We inoculated mice in the ear pinna with HSV and collected virus at various intervals during primary infection. In mice surviving primary infections, recurrent disease was induced from which virus was isolated. Virus was also recovered from explanted dorsal root ganglia. Virus isolates were characterised by restriction endonuclease digestion and compared with the original inoculate(s). The data indicate that in all cases except two, the isolates from primary and recurrent infections remained identical to the original inoculates.


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