The specificity of schistosome circulating antigen detection was determined in negative individuals from two S. mansoni- endemic countries, Senegal and Burundi, and compared with results from Dutch control individuals. A nearly absolute specificity was achieved for circulating anodic antigen (CAA) detection in serum, irrespective of the target population or sample pretreatment method. Circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) detection in serum and urine resulted in a lower specificity than serum CAA detection. Apparent large differences in specificity of CCA detection between countries were mainly due to pretreatment methods. Apparently, the alkaline/heating pretreatment method is not as effective as trichloroacetic acid (TCA)-pretreatment in removing (certain) interfering components, which may vary between populations. In view of the development of the urine CCA assay into a noninvasive screening test, a slightly lower specificity may still be acceptable. For precise epidemiological analyses the highly specific serum CAA assay remains the method of choice.