Luvn and Rebra
I agree with nearly everything you've said. In my experience, there are a lot of different signs the birds show and they can all be Marek's. It is easy to say the first one is an injury that causes limping, and maybe the second one was bad food or some kind of toxin. Meanwhile, the sick birds are shedding virus all over your farm and house.
My first bird to die was unthrifty from the start. I hatched her here, and she was tiny and didn't fully feather out until around 11 weeks. Around the same time we rehomed her brother, who was her best friend. The stress from losing him caused her to stop eating. That lasted a few days and she seemed fine for another month until the other cockerel we had started to show interest in her. Then it was limping and lethargy...the beginning of the end.
In the last 3 months I've lost probably 10 or 15 birds to Mareks. I've seen all of the following:
Minor limping, sudden onset "drunk" walking, lack of appetitie, in ability to roost (but runs and walks fine). right side leg and wing paralysis, left side wing paralysis, coughing, purple comb, open mouth breathing, blindness, seizures, lethargy, anorexia, desire to only eat certain foods (mostly chick starter, corn and scratch grains), low grade respiratory infection, excessive feather loss, impacted crop, and I'm sure there are more I'm not remembering. I had an 11 month old fat hen that limped for a couple of days and then I found her dead in the coop.
I think more people don't subscribe to the thread due to fear of being labeled or having their business ruined. They won't be able to sell chicks anymore if people know they have Marek's on their farm. I do think people need to disclose their status, but since Marek's IS everywhere, we all have it whether we know it or not. Some strains of the virus are worse than others, and some birds have better resistance. It is kind of luck of the draw if/when your birds will get a bad case of it.
Sorry for your losses Luvn. Thanks goodness there is a vaccine to help us all move on with this.