Four techniques were compared for their practicability, speed, and sensitivity for the detection of human rotavirus. Radioimmunoassay (RIA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were found to be the most sensitive means of identifying rotavirus, and, once processed, up to 40 specimens could be examined daily. Electron microscopy, although less sensitive than these techniques, had the advantage of being able to detect other viral agents present in faecal extracts. Indirect immunofluorescence failed to detect rotavirus as often as the other three methods. In laboratories where routine examination of faecal specimens from patients with gastroenteritis is required, ELISA and RIA are useful alternatives to electron microscopy.
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