Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is the main etiological agent of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) and has been associated with neurological complications which resulted in fatalities during recent outbreaks in Asia Pacific region. Develop a real-time TaqMan RT-PCR for rapid detection of EV71. Specific primers and probe were designed based on highly conserved VP1 region of EV71. The sensitivity of the real-time RT-PCR was evaluated with 67 clinical specimens collected from pediatric patients with suspected HFMD. Our real-time TaqMan RT-PCR showed 100% specificity in detecting EV71 and showed an analytical sensitivity of 5 viral copies. High sensitivity was also achieved in detecting EV71 directly from clinical specimens. Real-time TaqMan RT-PCR offers a rapid and sensitive method to detect EV71 from clinical specimens, and will allow quarantine measures to be taken more effectively during outbreaks.