Human rhinoviruses (HRVs) are the major cause of the common cold. HRVs were recently reclassified into the Enterovirus genus (HEV) in the Picornaviridae family. HRVs and other members of the HEV genus share many common features, including sense RNA genomes and partial nucleotide sequence identity. The aim of this study was to evaluate different HRV detection strategies. Samples from adults with acute respiratory infection (n = 291) who were treated in Sao Paulo Hospital (2001-2003) were tested using three assays. The first assay detected picornaviruses by RT-PCR and hybridization, the second detected rhinoviruses using RT-PCR/sequencing, and the third differentiated HRV from HEV using duplex semi-nested-RT-PCR. Analysis of the results obtained from the first two strategies revealed 83% concordance. Discordant samples were then evaluated by the third protocol, and 82% were negative. The picornavirus detection protocol was more sensitive but less specific than the rhinovirus detection protocols. The semi-nested protocol utilized in the present study was less sensitive and was not useful in differentiating HRV from HEV. Sequencing assays examining different genes would address the best strategy of confirming rhinovirus and enterovirus infections.