Eighty-one cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples mainly from cases of aseptic meningitis and motor deficiency syndrome were sent to the Virology Section of Evandro Chagas Institute, Belém Pará, in the period of January 1995 to January 1996 in order to isolate viruses. All samples were inoculated onto HEp-2 cell culture and newborn mice, with negative results. The probability of isolating viruses by these methods is reduced because of the low concentration of viral particles in these specimens. In order to obtain more information about the etiology of these cases, a group of 23 samples were selected to be tested by a more sensitive technique than the virus isolation - the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Specific primers directed to conserved regions in the enterovirus genome were used, considering that this group of viruses is frequently associated with these neurological disorder. The age of the patients ranged from 1 to 55 years and nearly all of them lived in Belém, State of Pará, North of Brazil. Of 15 samples analyzed by RT PCR nine (60%) were positive; of these, 6 (66.6%) had motor deficiency and 3 (33.3%) developed aseptic meningitis. These results show that it is important to investigate enterovirus as cause of these syndromes.