During September and October 2010, the Dutch Public Health Institute detected an enterovirus (EV) 68 (EV68) epidemic in the Netherlands through general practitioner-based surveillance of acute respiratory infections. EV68 shares phenotypic and genotypic properties with human rhinovirus (HRV). Despite increased EV and HRV detections, Dutch clinical laboratories did not identify EV68. To assess the capability of Dutch clinical laboratories to detect EV68, ten laboratories with more than eight detected EV and HRV cases in September and October 2010 provided information about their detection algorithms and testing results for a 2010 Dutch EV68 strain. For EV detection mostly stool specimens (median 49%), respiratory specimens (median 27%) and cerebrospinal fluid (median 22%) were used. For HRV detection only respiratory specimens were used. Except for the Seeplee RV15ACE EV-specific assay, all EV and 73% of HRV assays, including those of the Public Health Institute, were able to detect EV68. Two-step EV RT-PCR protocols were the most sensitive. Thus, laboratories might have misidentified EV68 as HRV. In addition, EV68 cases might have also been missed because patients with respiratory diseases are usually not tested for EV infection. Therefore, clinical laboratories should include EV detection in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.