Recent outbreaks of Ebola and Zika viruses have highlighted how viruses may cause enduring infections in tissues such as the eye, which have been considered to be immune privileged. The authors were interested in whether this was restricted to exotic viruses or whether it is also true of more common viral infections, particularly in immunocompetent hosts. The authors used a murine cytomegalovirus infection model to show that systemic infection of immunocompetent hosts results in broad ocular infection, chronic inflammation and establishment of a latent viral reservoir in the eye. Infection leads to infiltration and accumulation of anti-viral CD8+ T cells in the eye and to the development of tissue resident memory T cells localised to the eye, including the retina. Therefore cytomegalovirus can form a reservoir in the eye, suggesting that other common viruses may target this organ more frequently than appreciated.
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