Vaccinating for Marek’s? Don’t be thrown off by PFU levels

Don't get hung up on the level of plaque-forming units
calendar icon 2 December 2022
clock icon 1 minute read

Poultry veterinarians should not get hung up on the level of plaque-forming units (PFUs) to determine the strength of recombinant Marek’s vaccines, according to Isabel M. Gimeno, DVM, PhD, professor, North Carolina State University.

Gimeno frequently fields questions from veterinarians who ask about high PFU levels of herpesvirus of turkey (HVT) vaccines. They assume that the higher the PFU level, the greater the protection. In some cases, they also use PFU levels to determine the vaccine’s possible dilution rate. PFUs are not a measure of vaccine efficacy, however.

“A PFU doesn’t tell you necessarily about protection. And there is no magic PFU number because [a correct level] depends on the product,” she told Poultry Health Today.

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