An immunochromatographic test for rapid detection of IgM antibodies in patients with acute hepatitis E infection was developed utilizing the well-characterized recombinant protein EP2.1 and monoclonal antibody 4B2. The new rapid test based on a novel reverse-flow technology was able to generate a positive result within 2 to 3 min. Our study showed that this test was able to detect anti-HEV IgM antibodies in 96.7% of the patient samples tested (n = 151) while maintaining an excellent specificity of 98.6% with samples from various patient or healthy control groups (total n = 208). Furthermore, this rapid test gave a good specificity of 90.9% when tested with rheumatoid factor (RF)-positive sera (RF value of ≤850 IU/ml; n = 11) although a higher concentration of RF in samples might cause cross-reactivity. The new test has a good agreement of 97.2% with a kappa value of 0.943 when compared with a reference enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The positive predictive value and the negative predictive value for the rapid test thus reached 98.0 and 97.6%, respectively. This is the first rapid, point-of-care test for hepatitis E and will be especially useful for the diagnosis of acute hepatitis E virus infection in field and emergency settings and in resource-poor countries.