The virus has an incubation period of 6-12 days. Different pathotypes have differing pathogenicity.
Until now, the vaccine for ILT has been a live attenuated one, which means that although it is effective, in some cases virus particles mutate and can cause disease.
Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a new virus that does not pose this risk. Instead of using a weakened virus, the vaccine uses virus-like particles that the immune system can recognise but won’t cause the disease.
Dr Nina Wolfrum, who is part of the research group that developed the vaccine, then tested how effective the vaccine is when compared to the current, live attenuated vaccine. The findings showed that the new vaccine is safe and produces no obvious side-effects.
The research also showed that this new vaccine does produce an immune response against ILT infection, although further research is needed.
In the future, the vaccine could be useful in preventing ILT in poultry flocks, improving animal welfare and reducing economic losses.