Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is the most contagious animal virus disease of cloven-hoofed livestock and requires reliable and accurate diagnosis for the implementation of measures to control effectively its spread. Routine diagnosis of FMD is carried out at the OIE/FAO World Reference Laboratory for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (WRL for FMD), Pirbright by the combined use of ELISA and virus isolation in cell culture supplemented by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) methods. These techniques require skilled personnel and dedicated laboratory facilities which are expensive. The development of a rapid and simple test for the detection of FMD virus antigen using Clearview chromatographic strip test technology for field application is described. This device detected FMD viral antigen in nasal swabs, epithelial suspensions and probangs from clinical samples submitted from the field, from animals infected experimentally and in supernatant fluids resulting from their passage in cell culture. The test system was more sensitive than ELISA for the diagnosis of all seven serotypes of FMD virus in the epithelial suspensions and nasal swabs and had equivalent sensitivity to the ELISA for the detection of contemporary virus strains in cell culture supernatant fluids. The study demonstrated the potential for this device to confirm a clinical diagnosis at the site of a suspected FMD outbreak, thereby offering the possibility of implementing control procedures more rapidly. Such pen-side diagnosis would have particular benefits in FMD emergencies, relevance to FMD control programmes which operate in endemic regions of the world such as South East Asia and for increasing disease awareness in other areas where efforts to control disease may be difficult. In each circumstance the availability of a pen-side device for diagnosis would reduce the necessity for sending routine diagnostic samples to an FMD laboratory and thereby reduce the delay in diagnosis, which can in some areas be considerable.