The role of passively acquired immunity to reovirus-induced meningoencephalitis in neonatal mice was examined. It was determined that female mice were capable of conferring protection against viral infection and meningoencephalitis in neonates depending on the route by which the dams were immunized and the serotype of the immunizing virus. Female mice immunized with homotypic virus via the oral route developed the most potent response. Infected neonates born and nursed by these females developed no signs of disease, and no virus was recoverable from their small intestines, livers, or brains following infection. Neonates born to females immunized with homotypic virus by the subcutaneous route manifested no evidence of meningoencephalitis or virus dissemination, yet virus was recovered from neonatal intestines. Mice immunized with heterotypic virus by either the subcutaneous or the oral route also conferred protection against disease; however, virus was recovered in small intestines and livers of infected neonates. Based on results from foster-nursing experiments, it appears that factors obtained both during suckling and by transplacental transfer contribute to protection. Passive transfer of reovirus-immune mouse serum also protected neonates from disease. These results demonstrate that passive immune mechanisms can mediate the protection of neonates against reovirus infection and provide further evidence of the importance of the mucosal immune response in protection against pathogens that invade the host via mucosal tissues.