Recently, human deaths have resulted from infection with low-pathogenicity avian influenza virus H7N9 strains that have emerged recently in China. To strengthen H7N9 surveillance and outbreak control, rapid and reliable diagnostic methods are needed. To develop a sensitive quantitative real-time RT-PCR assay for rapid detection of H7N9 viral RNA, primers and AllGlo probes were designed to target the HA and NA genes of H7N9. Conserved sequences in the HA and NA genes were identified by phylogenic analysis and used as targets for H7N9 virus detection. The similarities of the targeted HA and NA gene sequences from different H7 and N9 influenza virus strains were 93.2-99.9 % and 96.0-99.6 %, respectively The specificity and sensitivity of the new multiplex real-time qRT-PCR was established. The test was used for the detection of viral RNA in human pharyngeal swabs and environmental samples. The detection limit of the multiplex qRT-PCR was estimated to be about 10(-1) TCID50/reaction. Finally, the diagnostic sensitivities of the multiplex qRT-PCR, virus isolation and TaqMan qRT-PCR were compared using pharyngeal swabs and environmental samples. These analyses yielded positive results in 46.7 %, 43.3 % and 20.0 % of the samples, respectively. The novel multiplex AllGlo qRT-PCR is a rapid and sensitive method to identify H7N9 virus in clinical and environmental samples and can be used to facilitate studies on the epidemiology of H7N9 virus.