We report enhancement in the fluorescent signal of the carbocyanine dye Cy5 by using an engineered virus as a scaffold to attach >40 Cy5 reporter molecules at fixed locations on the viral capsid. Although cyanine dye loading is often accompanied by fluorescence quenching, our results demonstrate that organized spatial distribution of Cy5 reporter molecules on the capsid obviates this commonly encountered problem. In addition, we observe energy transfer from the virus to adducted dye molecules, resulting in a highly fluorescent viral nanoparticle. We have used this enhanced fluorescence for the detection of DNA-DNA hybridization. When compared with the most often used detection methods in a microarray-based genotyping assay for Vibrio cholerae O139, these viral nanoparticles markedly increased assay sensitivity, thus demonstrating their applicability for existing DNA microarray protocols.