An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed for the detection of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) antigens in nasopharyngeal secretions (NPS) from children with acute respiratory disease. Antisera against RSV nucleocapsids were used as immunoreagents for this test system. The results obtained by RSV antigen ELISA were compared to those of indirect immunofluorescence (IF) and tissue culture virus isolation (TC). Of the 404 NPS obtained, 278 were tested in parallel by ELISA and IF and 205 by ELISA and TC, and 89 were screened in parallel by all three methods. The sensitivity of ELISA in relation to IF was 86.7%, the specificity 95.7%. Sensitivity and specificity obtained by ELISA were 89.9% and 94.4%, respectively, compared to TC. False-negative results were obtained with all three test systems used.