Over 600 birds have been affected by a highly infectious respiratory virus at an unnamed Smithville farm in West Lincoln.
All birds infected with the virus, Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT), came from one of three farms at the 41,208-bird broiler chicken operation. The 600 affected birds have been sent to slaughter as a result of the virus, although a news release says the disease does not present a food safety issue. The count of birds provided was as of Dec. 1.
Birds in the remaining two farms have not shown clinical signs of the virus, but are set to be slaughtered this week.
This is only the third case of ILT in a commercial Ontario broiler chicken flock since early 2018, however, infections in small flocks do occur almost monthly, said the Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC), a centralized emergency response unit working in the chicken, egg, turkey, and hatchery sectors in Ontario.
ILT is a respiratory virus that affects birds causing shortness of breath, coughing, and cackling in the lungs, which can also cause blood or mucus in the lungs. The virus is often transmitted through coughing and infected birds typically do not recover.
The virus does not pose a threat to the health of those working with the chickens as it cannot be transmitted to humans.
FBCC is currently working with the farm to contain the virus and assist with cleanup and recovery. The FBCC is also working with other feather boards to notify farmers within a 10-km radius of the Smithville farm.