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The distribution of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in human geniculate, vestibular ganglia, and vestibular nuclei was determined in 10 human temporal bones and brainstems of five individuals by PCR. HSV-1 was found in 3 of 10 of each ganglia and vestibular nuclei. The various patterns of HSV-1 infection of vestibular structures are compatible with virus migration from the vestibular ganglia to the vestibular nuclei and from the ipsilateral to the contralateral vestibular nucleus via commissural fibers.