Most of the studies characterizing the incidence of rhinovirus (RV) have been carried out in hospitalized children and in developed countries. In those studies, RV-C has been associated with more severe respiratory tract infections than RV species A and B. In this study we determined the frequency and diversity of RV strains associated with upper and lower respiratory tract infections (URTI, LRTI) in Mexico, and describe the clinical characteristics of the illness associated with different RV species. A prospective surveillance of 526 and 250 children with URTI and LRTI was carried out. Respiratory samples were analyzed by RT-PCR for viruses. The 5' untranslated region of the RV genome was amplified and sequenced. In the case of URTI, 17.5% were positive for RV, while this virus was found in 24.8% of LRTI. The RV species was determined in 73 children with URTI: 61.6% were RV-A, 37% RV-C and, 1.4% RV-B; and in 43 children with LRTI: 51.2% were RV-A, 41.8% RV-C, and 7% RV-B. No significant differences in clinical characteristics were found in patients with RV-A or RV-C infections. A high genetic diversity of RV strains was found in both URTI and LRTI. Both RV-A and RV-C species were frequently found in hospitalized as well as in outpatient children. This study underlines the high prevalence and genetic diversity of RV strains in Mexico and the potential severity of disease associated with RV-A and RV-C infections.