Indium-111 (111In) and technetium-99m (99Tcm) StealthR liposomes were compared with 111In- and 99Tcm-labelled white blood cells (WBC) in experimental infection in a rabbit model. Preformed polyethylene glycol-coated liposomes and separated WBC were radiolabelled with either 111In-oxine or 99Tcm-hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime (99Tcm-HMPAO). After the intravenous administration of one of the four radiopharmaceuticals to rabbits with focal Staphylococcus aureus infection, scintigraphic images were recorded at various time points post-injection and the biodistribution of the radiopharmaceuticals was determined. At 4 h post-injection, uptake of 111In-WBC in the abscess was significantly higher than that of the three other products. At later time points, 111In-WBC, 111In-liposome and 99Tcm-liposome uptake in the abscess were similar. In contrast, at 20 h post-injection, uptake of 99Tcm-WBC was significantly lower. The abscess-to-background ratios showed a similar pattern to the absolute abscess uptake: initial high values for 111In-WBC, a more gradual increase over time of the liposome preparations to the level of 111In-WBC and persistently low values for 99Tcm-WBC. Clearance from the blood of both labelled WBC preparations was significantly faster and splenic uptake significantly higher compared with those of the labelled liposomes. In conclusion, given the similar in vivo characteristics of labelled liposomes and labelled WBC, labelled liposomes may be an attractive replacement for labelled WBC, providing a continuously available, high-quality, 99Tcm-labelled radiopharmaceutical that can be prepared easily without any need to handle blood.