With the aim of achieving earlier diagnosis of congenital Trypanosoma cruzi infection, we assessed the usefulness of detecting specific IgA antibody by an ELISA. We evaluated 12 pregnant women chronically infected with T. cruzi, their newborn infants, and three additional neonates with parasitemia at birth. The IgA-specific antibody was detected by adapting the procedure for use of a commercial IgG ELISA, the Hemagen Chagas' Kit (Hemagen Diagnostics, Inc., Waltham, MA). Trypanosoma cruzi-specific IgA was detected in 10 (83%) of 12 mothers at delivery, in one of three parasitemic infants, and one of 12 newborns of the chronically infected women. Testing of 13 infants at six months of age revealed IgA in seven infants (54%), of whom four also had persistent T. cruzi-specific IgG. Detection of T. cruzi-specific IgA could provide a criterion for diagnosis of congenital infection in the absence of detectable parasitemia.