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A neurotropic virus is a virus which capable of infecting nerve cells.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) has low neuroinvasivesess and high neurovirulence. HSV is transmitted in vesicle fluid, saliva and vaginal secretions. So the site of infection determines the disease - "mixing and matching of mucous membranes".

Source: Murray 2013, Medical Microbiology.

Why is herpes virus neurotropic?

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Simply because it has neurotropic receptors. Why did acquiring these receptors seem evolutionarily advantageous? Well the immune system doesn't target nerve cells for destruction as well. There are few if any white blood cells in the CSF within which the neurones are bathed. The immune system is about protecting against damage, it doesn't care as much if a virus doesn't cause damage as it isn't geared to respond as well if that's the case.

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Excellent answer and clear logic! I like it! –  Masi May 8 '13 at 21:52
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