An enzyme-linked immunosorbent plaque assay is described which can reliably enumerate influenza virus-specific antibody-secreting cells and exhibits specificity similar to that of the indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The assay was used to characterize the development of specific antibody-secreting cells, principally within lung tissue, during primary murine influenza virus infection after intranasal inoculation. Cells secreting influenza virus-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM), IgG, and IgA were detected in greatest numbers in lung tissue, and the data presented indicated that the cells may have originated from specific B-cell precursors in lung tissue which are demonstratable in vitro. At 11 months after infection, cells secreting IgG and IgA were still present in lung tissue. Influenza virus-specific antibody-secreting cells were also detected in spleen tissue and blood. Antibody-secreting cells appeared earlier in spleen than in lung tissue and declined more rapidly in spleen tissue.