Manitoba "sanctuary" flock tests positive for reportable disease

A flock of chickens in the southeast corner of Manitoba has contracted a confirmed case of infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT), an acute herpes viral respiratory tract infection of chickens, turkeys, and pheasants, that may result in severe production losses and mortality as high as 85%.

ILT is on the list of four notifiable diseases at the request of the importing nations China and Russia. It must also be reported to the province.

The flock is located at an animal “sanctuary,” and according to a Facebook post made by the facility, the birds are not to have contact with anyone and they cannot bring in any more birds, however, as of yet, the flock has not been ordered euthanized.

Due to the significant risk of spread and high mortality of the disease, a full cull and destruction of contaminated objects is typically the suggested course of action following a diagnosis of ILT, however the facility stated that this is “not an option” they can support.

According to a provincial spokesperson, the premises’ veterinarian implemented a voluntary quarantine with the farm owner immediately after the test results came back. Manitoba Agriculture staff are attending the premises to ensure the conditions necessary for the quarantine are in place and to review the disposition of the flock, the province says.

ILT is highly contagious, and if poultry survive the initial outbreak they remain carriers of the virus for the rest of their lives. The southeast corner of the province is host to several commercial poultry flocks.

 

**Update: The province has not ordered the flock euthanized and have placed the flock under quarantine.

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