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Poultry Health
Marek's disease in commercial turkey flocks
  1. Christian Blake-Dyke1 and
  2. Susan Baigent2
  1. 1Minster Veterinary Practice, Howton, Hereford HR2 0BG
  2. 2The Pirbright Institute, Compton Laboratory, High Street, Compton, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 7NN
  1. e-mail: christian.blakedyke{at}

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MAREK'S disease (MD) is a disease of herpesviral aetiology that causes immunosuppression and formation of tumours in many organ systems, primarily in chickens. The causative agent, Marek's disease virus (MDV), has been shown to regularly infect commercial chicken operations and cause production losses. Often these are seen as poor performance rather than mortality although, in an overtly infected flock, this can reach 100 per cent (Hirai 2001). In comparison, herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT) is not thought to cause clinical disease or any production loss in turkeys. HVT is used as a whole or part of vaccination strategies against MD in chickens. MD has been reported before in turkeys in the UK (Deuchande and others 2012), although these have been small outbreaks compared with those seen in chickens.

A virulent strain of MDV serotype 1 was demonstrated (using real-time PCR) to …

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