New Test To Detect West Nile Virus

Fears of the West Nile virus returns with the warm weather. Now a new test can help the health department detect West Nile in a fraction of the time.

Health officials will use a swab on a bird's throat that may have been infected with West Nile. The swab is then mixed in a solution. If the strip changes color, the bird is positive for the virus.

The whole test only takes 15 to 20 minutes which gives health officials valuable time to find mosquitos that infected the bird. "You know you're talking a matter of minutes verses weeks. You have to have information to work off of and the faster you have that information the better it works out," says Kevin Cummings with the health department.

Previously, the health department would have to send the birds off to be tested, which could take weeks before the results were available. The new tests are also cheaper. It only costs a few dollars for each test.

Amy Tatum reporting.