A state Agriculture Department lab in Galesburg has become the first in Illinois to be certified to test for Avian Flu. The division manager for Food Safety and Animal Protection says being able to do those tests in Galesburg will help to slow the spread of the disease if it reaches Illinois.
Dr. Colleen O'Keefe says before the lab was certified samples would have been shipped to a federal lab in Ames, Iowa. She says those tests would take up to two weeks, while the Galesburg lab will be able to make a determination within hours.
A deadly strain of the bird flu virus has killed more than 100 people, mostly in Asia. It also has killed or led to the slaughter of more than 200 million chickens and other fowl in Asia, Europe and Africa.