BACKGROUND: Influenza virus is a cause of annual outbreaks of acute respiratory disease and is responsible for considerable mortality and morbidity in all age groups. To achieve maximum efficacy antiinfluenza drugs must be started within 48 h of the development of influenza symptoms. Improvements in rapid diagnosis methods are needed to identify influenza infections. The aim of this study was to compare a quick rapid antigen test with viral culture assays. METHODS: A total of 87 nasopharyngeal swab specimens were collected from symptomatic paediatric patients during March, 2004. The performance of the Quick S-Influ A/B rapid test for influenza virus detection was compared to that of the viral culture. RESULTS: The overall rate of detection for viral culture was 23.4% for influenza A virus and 13.4% for influenza B virus. The Quick S-Influ A/B assay identified 17 of 18 influenza A viruses (sensitivity, 94.4%; specificity, 96.8%; PPV, 89.5%; NPV, 98.4%), and identified 7 of 9 influenza B viruses (sensitivity, 77.8%; specificity, 98.4%; PPV, 87.5%; NPV, 96.8%). CONCLUSIONS: The Quick S-Influ A/B assay was easy to perform and showed comparable sensitivities and specificities. This rapid test kit can be an alternative tool for interventions in disease management.