The determination and quantitation of peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) expressing human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) antigens is widely employed in clinical virology for rapid diagnosis of HCMV-related infections. We describe how CMV antigenemia may be accurately detected by means of human recombinant monoclonal Fab fragments rescued from a combinatorial phage display library prepared from an HCMV-infected donor. Fourteen recombinant Fabs were tested against HCMV-positive PBLs from a patient with ongoing HCMV infection. Three clones were found to react specifically with the nuclei of these cells. These three recombinant Fabs were subsequently tested, individually and pooled together, against 60 PBL samples taken from immunosuppressed patients. The reactivity observed was comparable to that obtained with mouse monoclonal antibodies commercially available for this purpose. The three recombinant Fabs were shown to react specifically with the 65-kDa viral tegument phosphoprotein encoded by UL83 (pUL83), which is the most abundant viral antigen in HCMV-infected PBLs.