Enteroviruses have been implicated in persistent infections of the nervous system and in certain paralytic motor neuron syndromes. Enteroviral persistence may depend on defective transcription, resulting in the abnormal production of equal amounts of genomic and template RNA strands rather than the normal ratio of 60-100:1. An in vitro model of a persistent coxsackie virus in human skeletal muscle cells was investigated using in situ hybridisation and a semiquantitative parallel, complementary, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The ratio of genomic to template RNA was found to be approximately 60:1. We conclude that enteroviral persistence in this in vitro model is not dependent on altered transcription. In vivo, other viral and host factors should be considered.