Symptoms and treatment of Marek's disease in birds


When farming poultry, farmers inevitably encounter diseases that are affected by birds. The incidence of livestock is not a pleasant thing, because in the first place this is a high level of economic damage, plus all diseases can nullify all the work spent on breeding birds.Marek's disease is one of the most widespread ailments, which can be affected in particular by chickens, broilers, as well as other species of domestic birds. How to recognize the disease, as well as how to deal with it, is described in this article.


Table of contents

  • Marek's disease
  • Symptoms and signs in chickens and in adult specimens
  • Treatment of ailment
    • In adult chickens
    • Broilers
    • In geese, ducks and other birds
  • Vaccination
  • Measures to combat the spread of the virus

Marek's disease

For the first time the disease was described by a researcher from Hungary, named Marek in 1907. Despite the fact that Marek himself christened the disease with chicken polyneuritis, the name of the disease was later associated with the name of the discoverer. In our country for the first time talking about Marek's disease in 1930, then began its study.

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There are three forms of the disease:

  • The neural, in which the peripheral nervous system is affected. In severe cases, paresis and paralysis are observed in diseased individuals.
  • Ocular, ophthalmic, in other words. It is accompanied by impaired vision, and in some cases, by loss. The lethal outcome reaches 30%.
  • Visceral, with the formation of tumors on the internal organs, built from solid tissue.
Marek's disease in chickens

According to the type of leak, the disease is classified into two forms:

  1. Sharp
  2. Classical

Symptoms and signs in chickens and in adult specimens

The incubation period ranges from two weeks to 150 days, largely depends on the age of the bird, the genetic predisposition, the individual resistance of the immune system of each individual. Depending on the form of the flow, the symptomatology of the disease differs.

Signs of Marek's Disease

In the acute form of Marek's disease, signs similar to leukemia are observed.The disease affects young animals, chickens aged 30 days to five months. In view of the high virulence for 7-14 days, the whole flock is exposed to the disease. Individuals suffer from paresis and paralysis.The main symptoms aredigestive disorders, weight loss, loss of appetite, impotence. Clinical signs are caused by the formation of tumors on the parenchymal organs, leading to malfunctions in the body. Accompanied by a sharp decline in productivity and high lethality of livestock.

With the classical form of the current lethality does not exceed 30%. Most often affects the nervous system, less often - the eyes. With the suppression of the nervous system may occur lameness, sagging of the wings and tail, it is possible to fold the neck. Individual individuals are susceptible to semi-paralysis, which, as a rule, most often pass without a trace.In the case where the infection affects the organs of vision, there are color changes in the iris of the eyes, often accompanied by visual impairment, and in some cases complete blindness. The pupil itself changes, taking a narrow, pear-shaped or other shape, and there is no reaction to light. When the eyes are affected, sick individuals die most often in a period of one month to one and a half years.

Eyes hurt birds

Treatment of ailment

Specific treatment is currently not developed. The main method of combating Marek's disease is timely vaccination.

The disease is caused by the Herpes virusand is highly contagious. Bleached members of the flock become a source of infection, highlighting the virus in the external environment after 7-20 days from the time of infection. The virus continues for one and a half to two years, in some cases throughout the life span. In case of recovery, a stable immunity with the ability to transmit antibodies to the offspring is formed.


At the moment there is no specialized treatment for this disease. If an infection is detected, antiviral therapy is performed, quarantine measures are applied, in most cases, a slaughter to prevent spread. The only, the most well-proven method of preventing morbidity is the vaccine.

In adult chickens

It is possible only at the initial stages of the disease, when the bird has not yet been paralyzed. For the purpose of antiviral therapyAt treatment the domestic preparation Atsiklovir. However, even the timely initiation of therapy does not guarantee the prevention of the death of a bird.



As a method of treating chicken meat breedspreventive vaccination, which the chicks do at a diurnal age. In some cases, revaccination is carried out at the age of 10-20 days. With a lesion of 5-10% of the total amount to treat adult individuals of meat breeds of chicken is not advisable.After the slaughter of all the infected livestock, the house must be thoroughly disinfectedbefore placing a new batch of young.

In geese, ducks and other birds

Herpes virus infection is heavily influenced by chickens, slightly smaller than turkeys, quails, then waterfowl birds such as geese, ducks and swans. The only successful form of treatment isprevention of an illness through immunization with vaccinations.

Vaccination of chickens on a poultry farm


Plant the bird with live weakened viruses.Immunization of young animals is carried out at a diurnal age. After the procedure, the birds develop anti-bodies to the virus.The following vaccines are used for immunization:

  1. Liquid viral vaccineon the basis of strains of chicken herpes virus.
  2. Liquid viral vaccineon the basis of strains of the herpes virus turkeys.
  3. VaccineNobilis Rismavac and Nobilis / CA
Syringe and vaccine against the Marek virus

Measures to combat the spread of the virus

To prevent the growth of the incidence in the room where the affected individuals were kept, thorough disinfection is carried out in accordance with veterinary norms.Incubation of eggs is possible after four treatments with formaldehyde vapors.It is allowed to resume breeding of agricultural birds not earlier than a month after the measures related to the clearance of the territory from the virus. Despite the fact that the virus itself quickly perishes in the environment, in feather follicles it is able to maintain virulence for 8 months.

To ensure that farming poultry remains a lucrative occupation, and the birds themselves are not exposed to viruses and pathogens,It is necessary to pay special attention to buying young animals and preparing a house.

Buy hatching eggs, chickens, adult chickens and other species of birds only by proven breeders. A special emphasis should be placed on the preparation of the premises, which will in future contain livestock.Preventive measures of sanitation, conducted in advance in the poultry house, allow to reduce the degree of possibility of infection of young animals at times.

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