Background: Marek's disease virus (MDV) is an economically important oncogenic herpesvirus of poultry. Sincethe 1960s, increasingly virulent strains have caused continued poultry industry production losses worldwide. Tounderstand the mechanisms of this virulence evolution and to evaluate the epidemiological consequences ofputative control strategies, it is imperative to understand how virulence is de -- CORRECTION REQUIRED HERE -- 12;ned and how this correlates withhost mortality and infectiousness during MDV infection. We present a mathematical approach to quantify keyepidemiological parameters. Host lifespan, virus latent periods and host viral shedding rates were estimated forunvaccinated and vaccinated birds, infected with one of three MDV strains. The strains had previously beenpathotyped to assign virulence scores according to pathogenicity of strains in hosts.Results: Our analyses show that strains of higher virulence have a higher viral shedding rate, and more rapidlykill hosts. Vaccination enhances host life expectancy but does not signi -- CORRECTION REQUIRED HERE -- 12;cantly reduce the shedding rate of thevirus. While the primary latent period of the virus does not vary with challenge strain nor vaccine treatment ofhost, the time until the maximum viral shedding rate is increased with vaccination.Conclusions: Our approach provides the tools necessary for a formal analysis of the evolution of virulence inMDV, and potentially simpler and cheaper approaches to comparing the virulence of MDV strains.
Atkins, K. E., Read, A. F., Savill, N. J., Renz, K., Walkden, S. W., & Woolhouse, M. E. J. (2011). Modelling Marek's Disease Virus (MDV) Infection: Parameter Estimates For Mortality Rate And Infectiousness. BMC Veterinary Research, 7(70), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-6148-7-70