Infectious Laryngotracheitis – ILT

Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT also known as Laryngo) is an acute
respiratory disease of chickens.  ILT is caused by a Herpes Virus that generally results in 10-20% loses but could cause losses in up to 70% of infected poultry.

What you should know about ILT:

  • ILT is found in most areas where poultry is raised
  • The virus is spread through respiratory secretions and
    airborne particles (from coughing and sneezing).
  • Can be spread in close proximity such as shows or sales
  • Infected chickens are the primary source of infection.
  • Virus can be carried on contaminated hands, shoes, clothing, vehicles,  and litter
  • Recovered birds can serve as carriers
  • Incubation period is 6-12 days
  • Duration of the disease is approximately 10-14 days
  • The virus is not spread through the egg or vertically transmitted
  • In most states ILT is a reportable disease

Signs and symptom of ILT

ILT has symptoms much like other respiratory disease, swollen watery eyes (conjunctivitis), swollen sinuses,  persistent watery or mucus nasal
discharge.  Sever cases of ILT include labored, open mouth breathing, consistent coughing and/or sneezing.  The one symptom that sets ILT apart from other respiratory diseases is the presence of blood in the mucus discharge.  Frequent shaking their heads to clear their trachea results in stings of bloody mucus on their feathers.  Birds that exhibit bloody mucus and open mouth breathing usually die.


There is no treatment for ILT because it id viral.  Antibiotics can be used to treat secondary bacterial infections.


First and foremost practice good biosecurity !  Always quarantine new birds for at least 30 days before exposing them to your poultry.   Avoid shows and fairs during an outbreak.  Vaccine is always an option in high risk areas or for show birds.  If you show or frequent sales, you must quarantine the birds that were taken to the shows,  when you bring them back home as if they were new birds.

There are different types of vaccines that can be used to control ILT.     Tissue culture origin (TCO) vaccine is one of the easier vaccines to administered by simple eye drop.  The use of this vaccine should be done at least 30 days prior to shows and fairs. Label directions must be strictly followed, which sometimes includes vaccinating all poultry on the farm at the same time.



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