The prevalence of antibody to hepatitis A virus (anti-HAV) was determined in 854 people living in a large institution for the mentally retarded in Melbourne. Altogether 638 (74.4%) of the subjects were found to have specific antibody detectable by solid-phase radioimmunoassay (SPRIA). No difference in antibody prevalence was observed between males and females; however, the prevalence was higher among subjects with Down syndrome (84.1%) than those of other forms of mental retardation (72.8%). In both groups there was an increase in prevalence of antibody with increasing age and duration of institutionalization. When compared with the open community, patients in this institution have a higher prevalence of antibody and appear to acquire their infections at an earlier age.