First report of acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) occurring in the USA

Arun K. Dhar, Patharapol Piamsomboon, Luis Fernando Aranguren Caro, Siddhartha Kanrar, Robert Adami, Ya Sheng Juan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


In June 2017, mass mortalities were reported at whiteleg shrimp Penaeus vannamei farms in Texas, USA. PCR testing for OIE-listed and non-listed pathogens detected the pirA and pirB toxin genes associated with acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND). DNA sequence analyses of cloned pirA and pirB genes showed them to be identical to those detected in other AHPND-causing Vibrio sp. Amplicons generated using PCR tests targeted to the toxR gene showed the Pir toxin genes to be associated with a V. parahaemolyticus type more similar to a genotype found in Mexico compared to that found in Asia. Histology detected masses of bacteria and hemocytic infiltrations as well as extensive necrosis and sloughing of epithelial cells in hepatopancreatic tubules pathognomonic of AHPND. The data support AHPND as the cause of the mortalities. Given that US companies produce shrimp broodstock for farms in Asia and Latin America, the further spread of AHPND in the USA needs to be prevented to avoid serious economic consequences to these industries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalDiseases of aquatic organisms
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease
  • EMS
  • Early mortality syndrome
  • Penaeus vannamei
  • Shrimp aquaculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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