The pathogenicity for mice of two mutants of herpes simplex virus (type 1 and type 2), which fail to induce thymidine kinase, were compared with their respective parent strains. The mutants were much less virulent than the parents following either intracerebral or peripheral inoculation. The replication of the virus at the site of inoculation and its progression into the nervous system were studied. Following a very large inoculum in the ear, the type 1 mutant was found to establish a latent infection in the cervical dorsal root ganglia. Mice inoculated intracerebrally with small doses of the mutant viruses were solidly immune to challenge with lethal doses of the parent strain.
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