Respiratory disease found in chickens

US - A respiratory disease in chickens has been found on several poultry farms in southeastern North Carolina.
calendar icon 16 April 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

As of April 11, at least 57 suspected cases of infectious laryngotracheitis, or ILT, have been found on farms in Union, Anson, Montgomery, Randolph, Richmond, Moore, Scotland, Robeson and Bladen counties. So far, 45cases have been confirmed.

The disease is extremely contagious and can spread by contaminated equipment, boots, clothing and litter. Chickens can be infected through the respiratory tract and eyes.

The disease doesn’t pose a threat to humans, said Sarah Mason, director of poultry health programs at the N.C. Department of Agriculture.
The signs of ILT in chickens include swelling or foamy material around eyes, labored breathing, neck extension when coughing and gasping, Mason said.

“We are seeing some death from it in the birds,” she said. “There is a higher morality rate than what you would expect normally.”

Mason recommends isolating birds as much as possible if they show signs of ILT. During outbreaks, farmers should not visit other people who have birds.

“I would have a dedicated set of clothes, including shoes, just to work in the chicken house,” she added. “If you are sharing equipment with other farmers, you need to make sure you disinfect between farms.”

Small producers and non-commercial growers should avoid buying birds at auctions and shows during outbreaks.


For more information on Infectious Laryngotracheitis, ILT, click here.
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