The pathogenesis of class 9 and class 10 ILTV in Australian meat chickens


This project will characterise the pathogenesis of class 9 and class 10 infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV). These viruses cause severe respiratory disease in commercial meat chickens and are associated with high morbidity and mortality rates in Australia. Recently, we have completed a large study that involved class 9 and class 10 ILTV, each delivered to commercial meat chickens at three different doses, and have assessed clinical signs, mortality rates and gross tracheal pathology following infection. This was completed as a component of an existing CRC project for which those parameters were required for the development of an appropriate ILTV challenge model. Although beyond the scope of the CRC project, we also collected and stored a comprehensive array of additional samples from over 135 chickens, including serum, ocular, respiratory and cloacal swabs and tissue samples for virological and histopathological analyses. The proposed project will examine and analyse these stored samples in order to understand and compare the pathogenesis of class 9 and class 10 ILTV. Key areas of investigation include analysis and comparison of viral replication over time, severity of tracheal histopathology, dissemination of virus in tissues beyond the respiratory system, latency establishment in trigeminal ganglia and assessment of the use of feather pulp for rapid detection and identification of ILTV. This project requires funding only for laboratory consumables and services as it makes use of samples from an in-vivo study that has already been conducted. This helps to reduce costs and also minimises the number of birds used in research.


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

The University of Melbourne

Objective Summary

The objectives of this project are:
  • To investigate the pathogenicity of class 9 and class 10 ILTV in the respiratory tract of commercial meat chickens.
  • To identify viral organ tropism during ILTV infections.
  • To investigate class 9 and class 10 ILTV latency in the ganglia of infected chickens.
  • To develop a rapid and sensitive diagnostic method to detect ILTV in feather pulp.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Project Completion Date

Friday, February 1, 2019

National Priority

An environmentally sustainable Australia

National Priority

CME-Improve chicken meat production through the whole supply chain