AUTHOR

Guillermo Zavala

Diamond V

Professional poultry farming goes along with a well balanced vaccination program. Usually that includes vaccination against Marek’s disease (MD). Due to changed growing conditions, vaccination against this disease should be reconsidered.

 

Two circumstances have initiated reconsideration about the value of Marek’s disease (MD) vaccination.

  • One is the explosion in no-antibiotics-ever poultry production and concern that in ovo vaccination for MD could lead to increased first-week mortality. There’s some truth to this concern — if needles are penetrating a contaminated eggshell. The solution, however, is not abandoning MD vaccination. It’s improving sanitation throughout the hatchery and especially egg sanitation.
  • The other circumstance that brings the value of MD vaccination into question is the imminent decision by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to allow carcasses with MD-induced leukosis lesions to be trimmed instead of discarded.

Why bother with MD vaccination? I cannot emphasize enough that abandoning MD vaccination could backfire — and badly. In fact, vaccination against MD has never been needed more than it is now.

Remember how it was

Consider that throughout the poultry-dense Delmarva region and Georgia in 1970, condemnations in broilers reached approximately 3%. Nationwide, they were in excess of 1.5%.1 Today, in an industry that produces approximately 9 billion boilers per year, leukosis condemnations remain at negligible levels nationwide.



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