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Duck plague (UP) is a highly fatal disease of ducks, geese, and swans (family Anatidae), produced by a reticulo-endotheliotrophic virus classified as a member of the Herpesvirus group. The disease was recognized in Europe in 1949. On the American continent, the disease was first diagnosed in the United States in 1967.
Very little is known of DP virus ecology, particularly of the mechanisms of interepizootic survival and movement. The tendency of the IIerpesviruses to enter into a quiescent state after an overt or inapparent infection is a proven characteristic for most of the members of this group. Herpes simplex, which is the model of the Herpesviruses, is said to be the classical example of a persistent recurrent viral infection.
Burnet and Williams (4) were the first to recognize this kind of relationship between herpes simplex and its host in 1939. Later, it was found that the reactivation of the virus can be brought on by a variety of stimuli either physiological (menstruation), pathological (anaphylactic shock), chemical (pesticides) or physical (sunburn).
This same latency property has been proved for every member of this group of viruses which has been studied adequately, DP is among the few Herpesviruses for which the carrier state has not been demonstrated, but there is circumstantial evidence suggesting it. The carrier state for DP seems to be a likely explanation for the persistence and the particular pattern of movement of this disease.
Additional Publication Details
Duck plague: carrier state and gross pathology in black ducks