Fowlpox is caused by a DNA virus of the genus Avipoxvirus of the family Poxviridae.
The disease is present worldwide.
Fowlpox causes a transient drop in egg production and a reduced growth rate in young birds. The mortality rate is usually low in cutaneous form and high (up to 50%) in diphtheritic form of the disease.
The cutaneous form spreads by biting insects and by wound contamination. The diphtheritic form is spread by inhalation of the virus. The virus can persist in the poultry environment for extended periods of time and can be spread by fomites.
In the case of the cutaneous form, lesions and scabs form on various parts of the skin, such as the comb, wattles or the beak. In the diphtheritic form, lesions appear in the mouth, pharynx, larynx and the trachea – making breathing difficult or interfere with feeding.
Modified live vaccines are available commercially. The use of vaccines is indicated in areas where the disease is endemic or on premises where infection has been diagnosed.
For further information, view our Fowlpox product development work.