Spread of rhinovirus infection in the nose was studied after point inoculation of 25 microL of rhinovirus suspension either under the right inferior turbinate via the test duct (26 volunteers) or onto the posterior nasopharyngeal wall (through the mouth under direct vision) (six volunteers). Epithelial brush samples obtained daily from the anterior and posterior portions of the inferior turbinate in both nasal cavities and the nasopharynx were cultured for rhinovirus. Point inoculation of rhinovirus produced a high infection rate, but the entire nasal lining was not infected at the time of peak symptoms. Virus was usually first detected at the nasopharyngeal site, with subsequent spread of infection anteriorly to one or both inferior turbinates. Spread to the left turbinate was not detected in seven of 17 volunteers during the first five days after right eye inoculation. Virus recovery from the mucosa declined by day 16 and ceased by day 21.