Marek's disease virus (MDV) causes immunosuppression and tumors in chickens, but the turkey is an unusual host for the virus, and tumors caused by MDV in turkeys are unique. We describe the prevalence of turkey tumors in Israel between 1993 and 2000, their molecular diagnosis by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and the natural distribution of herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT). Most clinical cases with tumors in commercial turkeys were diagnosed as MDV.
The reproduction of Marek's disease (MD) in turkeys by two turkey MDV strains, Ar and La, was analyzed, and it was shown that these strains can induce tumors in experimental trials. The severity of experimental disease differed from those features of the original outbreak, since a less severe disease was recorded.