International Journal of Animal Science and Technology

Submit a Manuscript

Publishing with us to make your research visible to the widest possible audience.

Propose a Special Issue

Building a community of authors and readers to discuss the latest research and develop new ideas.

Investigation on the Incidence of Marek’s Disease Virus in Backyard Chicken Flocks in Iran: Complete the Puzzle of Epidemiology of Marek Disease

Marek's disease (MD) is an evolving disease that affects industrial poultry and backyard chickens and causes significant economic damage. Epidemiologically studying and continuous monitoring is vital to evaluate the progression and change of the MD virus and take appropriate action timely. In this study, after MD epidemiologic research on broilers, breeders, and layers of Iran, the prevalence of Marek’s disease virus (MDV) in backyard chickens of some provinces was investigated. This cross-sectional study was conducted from 2020 to 2021 in the villages located in five provinces of Mazandaran, Qazvin, Ilam, Khuzestan, and Markazi in Iran. DNA of the samples was extracted, then the prevalence of Marek’s disease virus serotypes and the presence of the gB gene were detected using the real-time PCR method. gB gene analysis was performed on MDV-1 samples collected of 50 villages and each village represented one epidemiologic unit. Fifteen epidemiologic units were positive for MDV serotypes, and the overall prevalence was recorded as 30%. The provinces with more industrial poultry farms (Markazi and Mazandaran) had shown the higher prevalence of Marek’s disease virus. Conclusively, MDV-1 is circulating in backyard chicken farms in Iran, and there is a need to properly plan for extensive training and vaccination.

Marek’s Disease, Backyard Chickens, gB Gene, Real-Time, Iran

Rima Morshed, Hossein Hosseini, Mohammad Hossein Fallah Mehrabadi, Naser Sadri, Zahra Ziafati Kafi, et al. (2023). Investigation on the Incidence of Marek’s Disease Virus in Backyard Chicken Flocks in Iran: Complete the Puzzle of Epidemiology of Marek Disease. International Journal of Animal Science and Technology, 7(2), 35-38.

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Davison F, Nair V. Marek’s disease: an evolving problem. Elsevier. 2004.
2. Mete A, Gharpure R, Pitesky ME, Famini D, Sverlow K, Dunn J. Marek's Disease in Backyard Chickens, A Study of Pathologic Findings and Viral Loads in Tumorous and Nontumorous Birds. Avian Disease 60 (4): 826-836, 2016. DOI: 10.1637/11458-062216-Reg.
3. Brochu NM, Guerin MT, Varga C, Lillie BN, Brash, ML, Susta L. A two-year prospective study of small poultry flocks in Ontario, Canada, part 2: causes of morbidity and mortality Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 31 (3): 336–342, 2019. DOI: 10.1177/1040638719843575.
4. Pohjola L, Rossow L, Huovilainen A, Soveri T, Hänninen ML, Fredriksson-Ahomaa M. Questionnaire study and postmortem findings in backyard chicken flocks in Finland. Acta Vet Scand. 57 (1): 3, 2015. DOI: 10.1186/s13028-015-0095-1.
5. Whitehead ML, Roberts V. Backyard poultry: legislation, zoonoses and disease prevention Journal of Small Animal Practice 2014. DOI: 10.1111/jsap.12254.
6. Mete A, Giannitti F, Barr B, Woods L, Anderson M. Causes of Mortality in Backyard Chickens in Northern California: 2007–2011. Avian Diseases 57: 311–315, 2013. DOI: 10.1637/10382-092312-Case.1.
7. Abdul-Careem M F, Read LR, Parvizi P, Thanthrige-Don N, Sharif S. Marek’s disease virus-induced expression of cytokine genes in feathers of genetically defined chickens. Developmental and Comparative Immunology 33 (4), 618–623, 2009. DOI: 10.1016/j.dci.2008.11.003.
8. Nair V. Latency and tumorigenesis in Marek’s disease. Avian Diseases 57 (2-1): 360–365, 2013. DOI: 10.1637/10470-121712-Reg.1.
9. Lupiani B, Lee LF, Cui X, Gimeno I, Anderson A, Morgan RW, Silva RF, Witter RL, Kung HJ, Reddy SM. Marek’s disease virus-encoded Meq gene is involved in transformation of lymphocytes but is dispensable for replication. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 101 (32): 11815–11820, 2004. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0404508101.
10. Jarosinski KW, Osterrieder N. Marek’s Disease Virus Expresses Multiple UL44 (gC) Variants through mRNA Splicing That Are All Required for Efficient Horizontal Transmission. Journal of Virology, 86 (15): 7896–7906, 2012. DOI: 10.1128/jvi.00908-12.
11. Sudhakar S. Vaccinal Control of Marek’s Disease: The Present and Future-A Review. Journal of World’s Poultry Research 2 (4): 73–78, 2012.
12. Correia-Gomes C, Sparks N. Exploring the attitudes of backyard poultry keepers to health and biosecurity. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 174: 104812, 2020. DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2019.104812.
13. Elkhoraibi C, Blatchford RA, Pitesky ME, Mench JA. Backyard chickens in the United States: A survey of flock owners. Poultry Science 93 (11): 2920–2931, 2014. DOI: 10.3382/ps.2014-04154.
14. Karabozhilova I, Wieland B, Alonso S, Salonen L, Häsler B. Backyard chicken keeping in the Greater London Urban Area: welfare status, biosecurity and disease control issues. British Poultry Science 53 (4): 421–430, 2012. DOI: 10.1080/00071668.2012.707309.
15. Adedeji AJ, Akanbi OB, Luka PD, Abdu P. Natural outbreak of Marek’s disease in indigenous chicken and Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. Open Veterinary Journal 9 (2): 151–156, 2019. DOI: 10.4314/ovj.v9i2.10.
16. Chacón RD, Astolfi-Ferreira CS, Guimarães MB, Torres LN, De La Torre DI, De Sá LRM, Ferreira AJP. Detection and Molecular Characterization of a Natural Coinfection of Marek’s Disease Virus and Reticuloendotheliosis Virus in Brazilian Backyard Chicken Flock. Veterinary Science 6 (4): 92, 2019. DOI: 10.3390/vetsci6040092.
17. Hartawan R, Dharmayanti NLPI. The Meq Gene Molecular Profile of Marek’s Disease Virus Serotype 1 From Kampung and Arabic Chicken Farms in Sukabumi, West Java, Indonesia. HAYATI Journal of Biosciences 23 (4): 160–167, 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.hjb.2016.12.004.
18. Mescolini G, Lupini C, Felice V, Guerrini A, Silveira F, Cecchinato M, Catelli E. Molecular characterization of the meq gene of Marek’s disease viruses detected in unvaccinated backyard chickens reveals the circulation of low-and high-virulence strains. Poultry Science 98 (8): 3130-3137, 2019. DOI: 10.3382/ps/pez095.
19. Wajid SJ, Katz ME, RenzKG, Walkden-brown SW. Prevalence of Marek ’ s Disease Virus in Different Chicken Populations in Iraq and Indicative Virulence Based on Sequence Variation in the EcoRI-Q (meq) Gene Source. Avian Diseases 57 (2 Suppl): 562-568, 2013. DOI: 10.1637/10342-083112-Reg.1.
20. Gimeno IM, Cortes AL, Silva RF. Load of Challenge Marek’s Disease Virus DNA in Blood as a Criterion for Early Diagnosis of Marek’s Disease Tumors. Avian Diseases, 52 (2): 203–208, 2008. DOI: 10.1637/8089-081407-Reg.1.
21. Food and Agriculture Organization of the united Nations (FAO). Live Animals, 2021.
22. Cecchinato M, Comin A, Bonfanti L, Terregino C, Monne I, Lorenzetto M, Marangon S. Epidemiology and Control of Low Pathogenicity Avian Influenza Infections in Rural Poultry in Italy. Avian Diseases, 55 (1): 13–20, 2011. DOI: 10.1637/9500-081310-Reg.1.
23. Farhood M, Toroghi R, Bassami MR, Kianizadeh M, Charkhkar S. Marek disease in broiler’s chicken flocks of Khorasan, Isfahan and Tehran provinces. Journal of Comparative Pathobiology, 4 (14): 133-138, 2007. (in persian).
24. Hablolvarid MH. Investigation on Incidence of Marek’s Disease in Broiler Flocks of some Regions in Tehran Province, Iran. Archives of Razi Institute, 66 (2): 109–114, 2011. DOI: 10.22092/ari.2016.103873.
25. Mohammadi A, Keyvanfar H, Hemmatzadeh F, Bozorgmehri Fard MH. Molecular diagnosis of Marek’s disease virus (MDV) in Iran. Journal of Veterinary Research 60 (2): 125-130, 2005.
26. Ghalyanchilangeroudi A, Hosseini H, Nazarpak H H, Molouki A, Dezfoulian O, Morshed R. Molecular Characterization and Phylogenetic Analysis of Marek's Disease Virus in Iran. Avian Dis. 66 (3): 1-5, 2022. DOI: 10.1637/aviandiseases-D-22-00018.
27. Gholami-Ahangaran M, Moghtadaei-Khorasgani E, Ahmadi-Dastgerdi A. Molecular detection of Marek, s virus in backyard fowl with nodular lesions in visceral organs. Journal of Veterinary Clinical Pathology 13 (2): 151-161, 2019. DOI: 10.30495/JVCP.2019.666729.