Asymptomatic enteric infections are important where sequelae or protection from subsequent illness is an outcome measure. The use of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to identify asymptomatic enteric infections in a birth cohort followed for rotaviral infections in a south Indian urban slum is reported. Of 1191 non-diarrhoeal samples from 371 children collected in May-June 2003, 22 (1.9%) were positive by ELISA. A total of 147 (40.6%) of 362 samples tested by VP6 RT-PCR were positive. In those samples that could be typed, a high diversity of G types including G1, G2, G4, G8, G9 and G10, and a high proportion (34.4%) of mixed infections were detected. Noroviruses were identified in 6/28 (21.4%) samples tested. The identification of infections undetectable by conventional techniques indicates the importance of the use of sensitive diagnostic techniques in research studies. Asymptomatically infected children may also act as a source of infection for other susceptible hosts.