Mareks disease is a highly contagious viral neo plastic disease in chickens. It is named after Jozseg Mareks, a Hungarian veterinarian.

Mareks disease is caused by an alpha herpes virus know  as ‘mareks’ disease or Gallid alpha herpes virus . It usually appears in young, sexually immature chicken. It affects 2-5 months and also as young as 3weeks old and can persist in a flock indefinitely.

Species : Gallid alphaherper virus 2

Family : Herpesviridae

Class : Mardivirus

Symptoms of mareks disease

– paralysis in the legs, wings

– A visible loss of weight

– If you look under the feather , you see the skin follicles raised with little bumps

– An irregular pupil or a grey iris

– A collapsed crop.


There is no treatment for mareks disease , affected bird has to be cull and the poultry house should be disinfected.

The vaccine given to day old chicks is not as effective as the one given to eggs. Vaccines are available against all strains.


– Depopulate and clean, disinfect infected houses and leave vacant for a few weeks before restocking.

– Use all-in-all-out system.

– Vaccination at day old using HVT (herpes virus of turkey strain).

– Genetically resistant strains of chicks can be bred.

NOTE: The vaccine is recommended to be given subcutaneous or dip Intra muscular at day old.

Dr Alayande Gbenga Sunday


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