LITTER management is being advised as the most effective way to get Northern Ireland’s Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) outbreak under control, as well as a vaccination programme.

Above all, farmers are being urged to maintain excellent biosecurity to control the outbreak.

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There have now been 19 cases of ILT reported to Daera by vets since 4 May. Most are centred around Dungannon.

The last outbreak in Northern Ireland was in 2013.

The disease causes lethargy, swollen eyes and acute respiratory distress. Feed intake is reduced, production drops, and the infection can ultimately cause mortality.


Transmission can occur via airborne particles or on fomites such as people, clothes or equipment.

But it is thought that the primary means of transmission is litter transportation from an infected site, being spread on land or even passing other clean sites.

The Poultry Industry Federation of Northern Ireland has outlined ‘best practice’ for producers, dividing measures into three groups based on whether a farm is infected, within 3km of an IP or otherwise.

  1. Infected farms
    a) Manure should be held in the house for as long as possible
    b) Litter or manure should be held on-site for 30 days if at all possible, undercover
    c) It should go directly for ploughing in or to an AD plant
    d) No spreading on a windy day
    e) Routes to the final destination should be planned to avoid or minimise passing other poultry sites
  2. Those within 3km of an infected farm
    a) Litter to be held on-farm for 30 days or until cleared through a virus test
    b) Test the birds. If positive, then they are treated as an infected farm
  3. Those outside of the 3km zone
    a) The only restrictions are those of good biosecurity. Remember that manure should not be filled into trailers on windy days, and manure removal from the house should be at minimum frequency practically possible.

It also advised litter is held in a closed store or covered trailer, should be transported under cover and dry and friable litter should be damped down before transportation to reduce the risk of dust blowing in the wind.

Day-old layers and breeder birds will now receive a vaccination, and the federation is advising adult birds in affected areas to be given a live vaccine via eye drop.