Diseases of man caused by the virus of herpes simplex fall into two broad categories. The primary disease occurs only once in any individual's life and is caused by transmission of virus from an already infected human. Thereafter, the individual may be subject to recurrent herpetic disease, the manifestations of which are different from the primary disease. Recurrent disease varies in severity from trivial, to incapacitating and frankly lethal (as in diseases resulting from the virus's neurotropic and oncogenic properties). The source of the virus in recurrent herpetic disease has never been conclusively resolved, but is almost certainly endogenous to the patient. Theories, case reports and experiments exist to show that endogenous virus may, in periods of clinical quiescence, be latent (or persistent) at the site of the recurrent lesions itself, or more remotely in nerve tissues related to the site of recurrence.