Submitted to: Poultry Health Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 30, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Reticuloendotheliosis (RE) is a neoplastic disease condition of poultry caused by an avian retrovirus (REV). The virus can be transmitted horizontally from chick-to-chick or vertically from dams to progeny. Previous serological surveys and current field observations suggest that infection with REV is widespread, but the disease has not emerged as an important disease problem for commercial chicken flocks. Experimental infection of chickens with REV causes nerve lesions similar to those of Marek's disease (MD) and B- or T-cell lymphomas that resemble lymphoid leukosis (LL) and MD, respectively. REV also causes a runting disease characterized by severe atrophy of the lymphoid organs, poor growth and abnormal feathering. Accidental contamination of commercial vaccines with REV is considered as a source of virus infection and can cause runting disease as well as lymphomas in vaccinated chickens. REV infection can be diagnosed by a number of biological and molecular assays. Currently, efforts to control REV infection in commercial breeder flocks are minimal. A program similar to that used in reduction or eradication of avian leukosis virus in primary egg-laying breeders may be necessary to control REV infection in chickens. Recently developed recombinant vaccines containing the env gene of REV can be used in conjunction with any program aimed at control of REV infection.