WASHINGTON – Scientists working for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed a vaccine that protects chickens against infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) and Newcastle disease (ND).

USDA said the vaccines were tested in more than 100 day-old chicks and 120 three-day-old commercial broiler chickens. All the vaccinated birds were protected against ILTV and NDV, the agency reported. The birds showed little or no clinical signs and no weight loss.

Microbiologist Qingzhong Yu and his colleagues at the Agricultural Research Service's Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) in Athens, Ga., developed the vaccines which are safer than current live-attenuated ILT vaccines. The vaccines are safe and stable in chickens of all ages, and can be safely given via aerosol or drinking water to large populations of chickens at low cost, USDA noted.

USDA said infectious laryngotracheitis and Newcastle disease cause illness and death in domestic and commercial poultry in addition to some wild birds.