Avian reticuloendotheliosis (RE) represents an important immunosuppressive disease of poultry. The occurrence of RE in both chickens and turkeys has an immunosuppressive effect and may lead to vaccination failures. Avian reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV) is widely distributed in different kinds of birds, causing subclinical infections. Another important issue adhering to this disease is contamination of vaccines against fowl pox (FP) and Marek’s disease (MD) with REV. The capability of REV to integrate into the genome of other larger DNA viruses complicates its diagnosis and prevention. There are no efficient vaccines against RE nor treatment, which also complicates how to limit its impact on poultry farming. This paper reviews the current state of knowledge of this important immunosuppressive agent of poultry emphasising the importance of this problem in terms of diagnosis of RE.
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