We studied a dipstick assay for the detection of Leptospira-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies in human serum samples. A high degree of concordance was observed between the results of the dipstick assay and an IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Application of the dipstick assay for the detection of acute leptospirosis enabled the accurate identification, early in the disease, of a high proportion of the cases of leptospirosis. Analysis of a second serum sample is recommended, in order to determine seroconversion or increased staining intensity. All serum samples from the patients who were confirmed to be positive for leptospirosis by either a positive microscopic agglutination test or a positive culture but were found to be negative by the dipstick assay were also judged to be negative by the IgM ELISA or revealed borderline titers by the IgM ELISA. Some cross- reactivity was observed for sera from patients with diseases other than leptospirosis, and this should be taken into account in the interpretation of test results. The dipstick assay is easy to perform, can be performed quickly, and requires no electricity or special equipment, and the assay components, a dipstick and a staining reagent, can be stored for a prolonged period without a loss of reactivity, even at elevated temperatures.