The USDA's Agricultural Research Service has developed a test to quickly identify birds infected with the strain of avian influenza known as H7N2.
Called a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction test, the procedure allows avian inspectors to know conclusively if the virus is present in less than 3 hours. The analysis could be used to prevent the spread of avian flu. If the disease is present, entire flocks must be destroyed at high economic loss to the farmer.
Recently, avian influenza infected 197 flocks in the northeastern United States forcing authorities to euthanize 4.5 million birds.