A 35-year-old man had developed recurrent herpetic keratitis characterized by dendritic keratitis at intervals of a year. We were able to culture cytopathic agents repeatedly from his lesions by inoculating Vero cells. The cultures yielded definitive evidence of a virus that caused a cytopathic effect within 3 days. However, these virus strains could not be identified as herpes simplex virus (HSV) in immunofluorescence assays using the Syva MicroTrak HSV1/HSV2 direct specimen identification/typing test. Rather they were identified as strains of HSV type 1 (HSV-1) on the basis of plaque morphology, neutralization tests, electron-microscopic examination and DNA restriction endonuclease analysis. Our results allow us to assume the existence of HSV-1 strains isolated clinically that are negative to analysis using the Syva Micro-Trak HSV1/HSV2 direct specimen identification/typing test.