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Marek's disease is a highly contagious infectious disease of viral origin that affects domestic and wild birds. It appears on the OIE list.

Situation in America: 

Marek's disease is distributed worldwide. It is present in the Caribbean, like in Martinique, but probably in most of the other islands as well.

Susceptible species: 

Domestic and wild birds, hens being the most sensitive

Etiological agent: 

Marek's disease is caused by a herpesvirus, a DNA enveloped virus.

Methods of transmission

Transmission occurs through the airways or orally via infectious particles found in large quantities in the feather follicles, as well as in faeces and sputum.


There are several forms of Marek's disease:

Classical form (animals aged 12 to 24 weeks): appearance of motor disorders, claudication, gradual paralysis of the limbs, drooping wings

Death inevitable

Cutaneous form: appearance of small tumorous nodules at the base of the feathers

Acute form (animals aged 6 to 12 weeks): exhaustion, weight loss, anemia, gradual paralysis.

Mortality rate of 30%

Laboratory diagnosis: 

- Detection of the pathogenic agent through cell cultures (very time-consuming method)

- Detection of antibodies using an ELISA test



Sanitary prophylaxis:

Isolation and elimination of infected subjects, disinfection with formalin


Attenuated live virus vaccine


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