We developed a new competitive EIA method for the demonstration of pneumococcal capsular polysaccharides from respiratory samples. The pediatric types 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F and 23F were selected for this study, because these capsular polysaccharides were included in the first heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, which were used in the Finnish Otitis Media Vaccine Trial. Sensitivity of the EIA tests for purified polysaccharide antigens varied between 5 and 100 ng/ml, depending on the type. The assays performed well in 100 nasopharyngeal samples (NPS) samples processed through an enrichment culture, with an almost 100% sensitivity compared with routine culture. The method appeared type-specific, except that EIA for 6B capsule also detected 6A. The method is applicable for type-specific identification of pneumococcus in carriage studies.