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We developed an indirect fluorescent-antibody test employing a mouse monoclonal antibody directed against the nucleoprotein of RSV for rapid detection of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This test demonstrated distinctive fluorescent inclusions in HEp-2 cells infected with 24 RSV isolates collected during 6 previous years but not in cells infected with 13 other respiratory viruses. Examination of nasal cells of 100 infants with acute respiratory illness showed that the indirect fluorescent-antibody test employing the monoclonal antibody was 79% sensitive and 100% specific, as compared with the combination of both culturing and a similar indirect fluorescent-antibody test with commercial anti-RSV serum. This monoclonal antibody is an easily produced, well-characterized, sensitive, and specific reagent for the rapid detection of RSV antigen.