Analysis of drug efficacy in animal models of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia requires an accurate method of quantification of organisms, as well as a means of assessing viability. Lung homogenates were prepared from a colony of athymic nude F344 rats experiencing a spontaneous outbreak of P. carinii pneumonia. With the fluorescent nucleic acid stain propidium iodide, flow cytometric analysis was able to quantify P. carinii cysts and trophozoites reproducibly. As this stain is excluded by living cells, this method was also used to assess the viability of organisms. Application of this technique to analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage specimens was demonstrated.