An agar gel precipitation (AGP) test was used to study the epidemiology of marble spleen disease (MSD) on a large pen-raised pheasant farm with a prior history of MSD. Tests conducted during early season egg production (March 1983) on previously infected breeders, poults from these breeders, and MSD-free hens introduced onto the farm, indicated absence of MSD antibodies (and clinical disease) during the breeding season (February-July 1983). Thus, a carrier state or egg transmission could not be demonstrated. The disease did not occur in late summer (September) in the same area of the ranch where it was diagnosed for the past 5 seasons. The AGP test was useful in confirming the pattern of the disease spread which moved erratically but within the general area of the index pen. Antibodies were detected in penmates approximately 10-15 days after the first observed mortality, but did not persist after the disease had run its course. Our observations suggest that the reservoir of the virus exists in the environment, and mechanical transmission (caretaker, equipment etc.) is important in sustaining the disease during an outbreak.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology