An indirect immunofluorescent technique for rapid diagnosis of patients of Japanese encephalitis (JE) was developed by demonstrating the viral antigen in CSF cells. The CSF samples of 31 consecutive patients admitted with acute viral encephalitis during 1987 were studied. In 15 patients the diagnosis of JE virus infection was made on the same day. Classical techniques for virus detection and antibody serology were also conducted in these patients. The indirect immunofluorescence for JE virus antigen detection in CSF cells proved to be a rapid and simple procedure for making a quick diagnosis of infection.