Secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) provides the first line of defence against pathogens initiating infection via the mucosal route, e.g. the influenza virus. The aim of this study was to examine the basal level of influenza-specific antibody-secreting cell (ASC) in the local mucosa of the upper respiratory tract. Nineteen patients scheduled for tonsillectomy were enrolled for the study, and they had not experienced influenza during the previous year. Tonsils, blood, oral fluid and a nasal biopsy were sampled, and the basal levels of ASC and antibodies (Abs) were determined. We found low numbers of influenza-specific ASC in the blood and tonsils, but there were about 10–100 times higher numbers of specific ASC in the nasal mucosa tissue despite no recent influenza exposure. Thus, the basal level of influenza-specific ASC in the mucosa of the respiratory tract may be important in the protection against influenza infection.