Human metapneumovirus, with two known genotypes named A and B, is associated with mild respiratory symptoms to severe LRTI in children, high-risk adults and the elderly. Rapid and reliable methods of hMPV detection in clinical samples are essential to implement appropriate care, to better understand the pathology of hMPV and to determine its epidemiology. Respiratory samples from 1,386 patients collected during 2 consecutive years were screened for hMPV using indirect immunofluorescence (IFA) assay with a monoclonal antibody. Forty-three patients tested positive for hMPV by the IFA method. In parallel, the samples were examined with RT-PCR on the F gene. Of these, 41 specimens were RT-PCR positive. The remaining two IF positives were cultured and the cultures were subsequently RT-PCR positive. IFA showed therefore a sensitivity of 100%. No false positive signals were obtained with the influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus or parainfluenza. When tested by RT-PCR, all IFA-negative samples (n = 204)were found negative. Therefore the specificity of IFA was 100%, IC95 [98-100%], with a negative predictive value of 100%. Based upon phylogenetic analysis of the fusion gene, both subgroups of hMPV were efficiently detected by IFA, and the viral aetiology could be given in 2 hr. These results demonstrate the potential usefulness of immunofluorescence with our monoclonal antibody for the rapid detection of hMPV in clinical specimens in the management of therapy and the control of nosocomial diffusion.