Recommendations concerning annual influenza vaccination in children suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF) are not uniform. Previous studies have shown that influenza causes a small proportion of episodes of acute respiratory deterioration in CF patients. During the 1989 Australian winter, we studied the association between serologically proven influenza infection and acute respiratory morbidity in 20 children with CF. Six children were shown to have influenza infection, four with type A and two with type B. Four of five children requiring hospital admission were shown to have influenza, but only 2 of 15 did not need admission (P less than or equal to 0.025). As well, influenza was diagnosed in 6 of 12 children who suffered acute respiratory illness leading to school absenteeism (including hospitalization), but diagnosed in no children without this degree of illness (P less than or equal to 0.025). Influenza significantly increases the incidence of hospitalization and of less serious respiratory illness in children with CF, a finding which suggests that influenza vaccine efficacy studies are necessary in this group.