Rapid, accurate, and cost-effective methods to identify the cause of respiratory tract infections are needed to maximize clinical benefit. Outpatients with acute respiratory illness were tested for influenza using a singleplex reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (SRT-PCR) method. A multiplex RT-PCR (MRT-PCR) method tested for influenza and 17 other viruses and was compared with SRT-PCR using chi-square tests. Among 935 patients, 335 (36%) tested positive for influenza A and influenza B using SRT-PCR. Using MRT-PCR, 320 (34.2%) tested positive for influenza A and influenza B. This study supports MRT-PCR as a comparable method for detecting influenza among patients seeking outpatient care for acute respiratory illnesses.