Adult severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice can be infected by the oral route with reovirus, and a systemic infection can be established. Infectious virus is recovered from all internal organs, and the mice die in 4-6 wk. Chronic, discrete inflammatory lesions appear in the liver of infected mice, and are associated with hepatocytes containing demonstrable levels of viral antigen. The adoptive transfer of Peyer's patch (PP) cells from congenic mice before infection protects the SCID mice against disease and death. Immune donor PP cells can be distinguished from nonimmune cells by their ability to contain and resolve infection by 1 wk after challenge.