Saturday, March 21, 2009

Virus Leads To Destruction Of 1-Million Chickens In Area County

KWTX.COM reported:

ROBERTSON COUNTY (March 21, 2009)—More than a million chickens have been destroyed in Robertson County after some of the Sanderson Farms birds tested positive for the poultry virus laryngotracheitis, a rare respiratory infection.

Sanderson Farms has processing plants in Waco and Bryan.

The virus is not dangerous to humans, even if meat from the infected chickens is eaten, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission.

Most of the slaughtered chickens will be processed.

"I would like to assure all of our customers in Texas that these birds will be processed under USDA inspection, bird by bird. They are absolutely wholesome, and, as the animal health commission has said, this virus does not affect the wholesomeness of the chicken for our consumers at all," Lampkin Butts, chief operating officer of Mississippi-based Sanderson Farms, told the Bryan-College Station Eagle.

The affected chicken farms are quarantined and are being disinfected in the wake of the discovery.

Once the process is completed, it will be another three weeks before the Texas Animal Health Commission clears the farms to start raising chickens again.

Here is the link to the original story: Virus

Links to other reports about this story:

Virus prompts killing of 1.4 million chickens

Over a Million Robertson Co. Chickens Killed to Contain Poultry Virus

I did some research into laryngotracheitis, this is what I found:

Infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) is a contagious respiratory disease which is characterised by gasping, neck extension and conjunctivitis (inflammation of the membrane around the eye).

ILT is caused by a virus which may live for 8 to 10 days in droppings and up to 70 days in carcasses, hence correct disposal is essential. It is believed that the virus may survive for up to 80 days in tracheal exudate (throat exudate) if not disturbed. This shows the importance of sound clean-up procedures and high pressure hosing.

Susceptible Species:
Fowls, pheasants and turkeys. Water fowl, such as ducks and geese, show no signs, but ducks are known to carry ILT. Wild birds may act as carriers.


Early symptoms may include bouts of hard swallowing, ruffled feathers on the back of the head, squinting and watering of one or both eyes, known as conjunctivitis.

After the incubation period of 3 to 14 days, there is increased mucus formation in the trachea, frequently followed by tracheal haemorrhage. This causes the bird to cough and to extend its head in a characteristic manner in order to breathe. In some cases only mild respiratory signs are seen but one eye may completely close.

The classical signs are gasping, coughing and sticking the neck forward and upwards with each breath in an effort to clear the mucus which builds up in the trachea (windpipe) – in fact, many birds die from the disease due to suffocation, ie, the windpipe becomes completely blocked. In acute cases, there has been up to 70% mortality.

There is a marked variation in the pathogenicity (potency) of various strains of the virus. Three major forms – the peracute, the subacute and mild or chronic forms are known.

broad forms are seen:

•Peracute form – high mortality of up to 70%. Severe respiratory signs of rales (rattles in the throat), gasping, coughing with expulsion of blood or blood-stained mucus are seen. The birds are very depressed.
On post mortem, acute haemorrhagic inflammation of the trachea and larynx is present and the lumen (centre) of the trachea is blocked by mucoid blood clots and sometimes yellow caseous exudate (cheesy plug-hard pus). Death is normally by suffocation.

•Subacute form – A high morbidity (sickness) rate but a lower mortality (10-30%) occurs. There are less severe respiratory signs of rales, coughing with expulsion of caseous matter, mucoid nasal discharge, gasping and infra-orbital sinus swelling. There is often conjunctivitis with severe lacrimation (eye discharge) and the eyelids matt together.
On post mortem, mucus which may be bloodstained is found with membranes in the upper respiratory tract. Death is normally by suffocation.

•Mild or chronic form – This shows as a low morbidity (sickness) rate (5%), the birds are drowsy with signs of conjunctivitis, squinting eyes, and bronchitis combined with a cough. There is often a concurrent infection with coryza. Egg production may drop 10%. On post mortem, false membranes are seen in the upper respiratory tract which may cause death.

You can read the rest of the report at this link: Virus

Will post any updates I find.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:18 PM   0 comments links to this post


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