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J Neurovirol. 2003 Apr;9(2):194-204.

Herpes simplex virus-1 and varicella-zoster virus latency in ganglia.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.


Two human alpha-herpesviruses, herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 and varicella zoster virus (VZV), account for the most frequent and serious neurologic disease caused by any of the eight human herpesviruses. Both HSV-1 and VZV become latent in ganglia. In this review, the authors describe features of latency for these viruses, such as distribution, prevalence, abundance, and configuration of viral DNA in latently infected human ganglia, as well as transcription, translation, and cell type infected. Studies of viral latency in animal models are also discussed. For each virus, remaining questions and future studies to understand the mechanism of latency are discussed with respect to prevention of serious cutaneous, ocular, and neurologic disease produced by virus reactivation.

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