Fowlpox is a worldwide viral disease of poultry.

Causative agent

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.

Clinical signs

In the case of the cutaneous form, lesions and scabs form on the skin of the comb, wattles and on the beak. In the diphtheritic form, diphtheritic membranes appear in the mouth, pharynx, larynx and the trachea – make breathing difficult.


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.