Results of a single Widal test in patients with bacteriologically confirmed typhoid fever (116), clinically suggestive but culture negative fever (170) and non-typhoidal febrile illness (98) and in normal control children (54) were analysed. Positive Widal test (antibody titre against S. typhi O antigen of 1:160) was recorded in 61.2 per cent of patients with bacteriologically confirmed typhoid fever and in 58.8 per cent with culture negative but clinically suggestive typhoid fever. In contrast, the same titre was observed in 10.2 per cent patients with other febrile illnesses of known etiology and in 1.8 per cent of normal children. Differences in the positivity of Widal test in patients with bacteriologically confirmed typhoid fever and clinically suggestive but culture negative fever were highly significant (P < 0.000001) when compared to that of patients with non-typhoidal febrile illnesses and normal controls. High specificity and positive predictive value in 1:160 dilution makes the Widal test acceptable as a diagnostic tool.