A number of disease outbreaks of Salmonella enterica serotype enteritidis (SE) in humans have been traced to the consumption of SE-contaminated egg and egg products. A rapid, specific, and inexpensive method of detecting SE infection in poultry is necessary to reduce human outbreaks. We evaluated rSEF14 fimbrial antigen of SE for specific detection of SE-infected birds in latex agglutination test and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. rSEF14 antigen was highly specific in identifying birds infected with SE. The sera from birds infected with closely related serogroup-D Salmonella and other avian pathogens did not react with rSEF14 antigen. The rSEF14 antigen identified antibodies in serum of 88% of birds during the first 2 weeks of infection, and 100% of the birds subsequently. The SE-specific antibodies were detected in egg yolk as early as 6 days post-infection in rSEF14-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Our results suggest that rSEF14-based assays could be used as screening tests for detection of SE antibodies and would overcome the cross reactions observed with existing serological tests. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.