Farmers' Awareness of Marek's Disease and Biosecurity Practices in Poultry Production in Selected States of Nigeria
The relationship between Marek's disease (MD) and factors responsible for the continuous enzootic outbreaks in Nigerian poultry farms were investigated. A structured questionnaire was served to test the level of awareness of the poultry farmers in different locations in 2009. The retrieval rate was 68.0% (150/200) from farmers in Oyo, Enugu, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa and Jigawa States. Seventy nine percent of farmers have heard about Marek's disease, while 87.9% vaccinated against MD. It was observed that the risk factors for Marek's disease using odds ratio analysis to test for association were statistically significant. A comparison between the risk of having Marek's disease infection in intensive and semiintensive management systems with extensive was highly significant (OR 29·6 and 5.0 at 95% CI, P < 0.0001) respectively. Eighty five percent of farmers with the same source of chicks complained of having MD,while 94·7% raised chicks separately from adult birds which was highly significant (OR 8.2 and overall p = 0.0009). Statistical analysis showed no significant difference (p = 0.5335, 0.1783, 0.0680 and 0.0840) respectively for gender of poultry farmers, closure of poultry farm due to MD, poultry house proximity to other neighbouring farms and source of water used. Marek's disease was still not popular among some farmers; unvaccinated birds served as carriers resulting in difficulty to control. Strict biosecurity was recommended to limit early exposure of chicks to wild or field virus beforethe establishment of vaccinal immunity, proper handling of Marek's disease vaccines and good management practices.
KEYWORDS: Marek's Disease, Poultry Farmers, Awareness, Biosecu rity, Practices, Nigeria