Marek’s Disease Treatment, Prevention


Marek’s disease prevention is possible through vaccination only. However, administration of vaccines does not prevent transmission of the virus; i.e., the vaccine is non-sterilizing. However, it does reduce the amount of virus shed in the dander and hence reduce horizontal spread of the disease.

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Marek’s Disease does not spread vertically. The vaccine was introduced in 1970. Before that, Marek’s disease caused substantial revenue loss in the poultry industries of the United States and the United Kingdom. The vaccine can be administered to one day old chicks through sub-cutaneous inoculation or by in-ovo vaccination when the eggs are transferred from the incubator to the hatcher. In-ovo vaccination is the preferred method, as in does not require handling of the chicks and can be done rapidly by automated methods. Immunity develops within two weeks.

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The vaccine originally contained the antigenically similar turkey herpesvirus, which is serotype 3 of MDV. However, because vaccination does not prevent infection with the virus, the Marek’s Disease virus has evolved increased virulence and resistance to this vaccine. As a result, current vaccines use a combination of vaccines consisting of HVT and gallid herpesvirus type 3 or an attenuated MDV strain, CVI988-Rispen

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