Deadly laryngotracheitis (ILT) virus infects 250,000 Northern Ireland birds


In Northern Ireland, a chicken disease epidemic is claimed to have affected 250,000 birds.

According to the BBC, the Department of Agriculture (Daera) has confirmed the presence of infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) on 16 farms.

Farmers have been following tight biosecurity standards since a bird flu outbreak in January, but Daera claims that the process has broken down.

ILT is a “nasty viral disease from the herpes group,” according to Daera veterinary officer Ignatius McKeown.

Respiratory issues, an increase in deaths, and a loss of production are among the symptoms.

While humans are unaffected, Mr McKeown believes the highly infectious disease will spread quickly if left unchecked.

Although birds can die from ILT they can also make a full recovery.

This eliminates the need for mass bird culling, which is usually required during bird flu outbreaks.

Mr McKeown added that any cases reported of ILT must be flagged up to Daera, but support was readily accessible for farmers.

“Daera has joined with poultry producers in forming a group to formulate a plan to react against this disease and put procedures in place to control the spread of the disease,” he said.

“People with infected flocks are asked to keep poultry litter on their premises as long as possible. The longer the litter is kept on the premises the virus will reduce through time.”

bird virus laryngotracheitis

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