The enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for specific IgE antibodies to Brugia malayi was compared with the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) for use in immunoepidemiological studies of lymphatic filariasis. Sera used were from individuals (aged 5-82 years) living in an area endemic for lymphatic filariasis in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The percentage of positive IgE ELISA reactions (52.6%) among the population was lower than the percentage of positive RAST (94.5%). Although an overall significant concordance was found between the two assays (P < 0.001), 328 (42.7%) individuals with a positive RAST result were negative in the ELISA, whereas only 6 (0.8%) subjects were positive by ELISA, yet negative by RAST. When the population was divided into those with active infection (positive for anti-filarial IgG4) and those not infected (mf-negative and negative for anti-filarial IgG4), the correlation between the two tests was higher in the IgG4-positive (rho = 0.70) than in the IgG4-negative (rho = 0.52) group. These results indicate that in assessment of B. malayi specific IgE antibody, RAST is superior to ELISA. However, given the use of radioactivity in the RAST method and given our results obtained in subjects with high anti-filarial IgG4, one could consider using the IgE-ELISA in areas with high endemicity for filariasis. In areas with low endemicity or where control programs are implemented, sera will have to be tested by RAST.