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Avian Encephalomyelitis (AE)

A viral infection of the central nervous system of poultry

Avian encephalomyelitis affects all poultry, typically one- to three-weeks old as well as adults in lay. The disease is spread through contaminated feces and fomites; its incubation period is 1 – 7 days.

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  • Signs of infection include trembling of the head, birds down on their sides, ataxia and dull eyes. Chicks will usually display drowsiness, lack of coordination, unsteady gait, and mortality of 5 – 10%. In adults, cataracts and a drop in egg production may occur.

  • The best way to help prevent this virus is to vaccinate breeders between 9 – 15 weeks. Vaccinations are typically long-lasting.1

  • 1  Schwartz LD. Poultry Health Handbook. 4th ed. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, 1994;81-82.