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Marek´s disease

Marek's disease is a highly contagious viral disease of poultry characterized by T-cell lymphomas and peripheral nerve enlargement. Standard criteria used for diagnosis include history, clinical signs, gross necropsy, and histopathology. Although no treatment is available, current vaccines are highly protective. Chickens are the most important natural host for Marek's disease virus (MDV), a highly cell-associated but readily transmitted alphaherpesvirus with lymphotropic properties of gammaherpesviruses. Quail can be naturally infected, and turkeys can be infected experimentally. However, severe clinical outbreaks of Marek's disease in commercial turkey flocks, with mortality from tumors reaching 40%–80% between 8 and 17 weeks of age, were reported in France, Israel, and Germany. In some of these cases, the affected turkey flocks were raised in proximity to broilers. Turkeys are also commonly infected with turkey herpesvirus (HVT), an avirulent strain related to Marek's disease virus that is commonly used as a Marek's disease vaccine in chickens.
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