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Avian smallpox is an infectious disease of viral origin that affects numerous bird species.

Situation in America: 

Avian smallpox is a common cosmopolitan disease in warm countries.
It is present in the Caribbean, in Martinique for example, and probably in the other islands as well.

Susceptible species: 

domestic poultry (chickens, turkeys, etc.), particularly aged between 6 and 12 months.

Etiological agent: 

Avian smallpox is caused by a poxvirus, an enveloped but nevertheless highly resistant virus with double helix DNA.

Methods of transmission

the virus penetrates the skin via a wound or can be transmitted by a biting insect.
The disease most commonly emerges at the end of the summer and in the autumn.

Clinical diagnosis: 

Incubation period: 4 to 14 days


There are two forms of the disease: a cutaneous form and a diphtheroid form

- Cutaneous form (summer): appearance of white papules on the crest, barbs, toes and feet, which turn into vesicles then a brownish crust
Favourable development in 2-3 weeks

- Diphtheroid form (autumn): appearance of caseous nodules in the mouth cavity, throat and around the epiglottis, causing dysphagia and dyspnoea
Weight loss, decline in egg laying, decrease in fertility
Death by asphyxia or starvation.

Laboratory diagnosis: 

- Detection of the pathogenic agent through the inoculation of sensitive birds or embryonic eggs

- Detection of antibodies through seroneutralisation or an ELISA test


adherence to normal hygiene and breeding measures, taking measures against biting insects


live attenuated homologous or heterologous virus vaccine


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