During 2001, a mild infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) infection occurred in broiler flocks in the southeastern United States. Clinical signs included mild tracheitis, swollen sinuses, and conjunctivitis, with no increased mortality and minimal serologic response. Infrequent intranuclear inclusion bodies with or without syncytial cell formation were observed in eyelid, trachea, and larynx and in the chorioallantoic membrane of infected embryos. Immunohistochemistry and a nested infectious laryngotracheitis polymerase chain reaction (ILT PCR) were utilized to confirm the presence of ILTV nucleic acid in fixed tissues. In addition, 2-wk-old specific-pathogen-free (SPF) birds inoculated with field material exhibited the mild signs observed in broilers in the field. Tracheal swabs and tissues taken from these SPF birds were also positive by nested ILT PCR. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of ILT PCR products indicated that ILT virus associated with mild respiratory disease in the Southeast is related to the chicken embryo origin vaccine type strains.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2