Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) has proven to be a useful assay system for the direct detection of infectious agents. However, when the usual color-producing substrates are employed, relatively large amounts of substrate must be hydrolyzed by the bound enzyme before detection can be achieved. We attempted to improve the sensitivity of ELISA by utilizing a substrate that yields a fluorescent product on enzyme action. The enzyme-linked fluorescence assay (ELFA) based on this principle was approximately 100 times more sensitive than the corresponding ELISA or radioimmunoassay for the detection of human rotavirus in a standard stool suspension. In addition, the ELFA for human rotavirus was capable of detecting antigen in six specimens that were negative by ELISA. Five of these specimens were obtained late in the course of confirmed rotavirus infections. ELFA provides a simple, reliable, ultrasensitive method for the rapid detection of viral antigen.