The host counters a viral infection through a complex response made up of components belonging to both the innate and the adaptive immune system. In this report, we review the mechanisms underlying this response, how it is induced and how it is co-ordinated. As cell-cell communication represents the very essence of immune system physiology, a key to a rapid, efficient and optimally regulated immune response is the ability of the involved cells to rapidly shift between a stationary and a mobile state, combined with stringent regulation of cell migration during the mobile state. Through the co-ordinated recruitment of different cell types intended to work in concert, cellular co-operation is optimized particularly under conditions that may involve rare cells. Consequently, a major focus is placed on presenting an overview of the co-operative events and the associated cell migration, which is essential in mounting an efficient host response and co-ordinating innate and adaptive immunity during a primary viral infection.