Historic emergence, impact and current status of shrimp pathogens in the Americas

D. V. Lightner, R. M. Redman, C. R. Pantoja, K. F.J. Tang, B. L. Noble, P. Schofield, L. L. Mohney, L. M. Nunan, S. A. Navarro

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    168 Scopus citations


    Shrimp farming in the Americas began to develop in the late 1970s into a significant industry. In its first decade of development, the technology used was simple and postlarvae (PLs) produced from wild adults and wild caught PLs were used for stocking farms. Prior to 1990, there were no World Animal Health Organization (OIE) listed diseases, but that changed rapidly commensurate with the phenomenal growth of the global shrimp farming industry. There was relatively little international trade of live or frozen commodity shrimp between Asia and the Americas in those early years, and with a few exceptions, most of the diseases known before 1980 were due to disease agents that were opportunistic or part of the shrimps' local environment. Tetrahedral baculovirosis, caused by . Baculovirus penaei (BP), and necrotizing hepatopancreatitis (NHP) and its bacterial agent . Hepatobacterium penaei, were among the " American" diseases that eventually became OIE listed and have not become established outside of the Americas. As the industry grew after 1980, a number of new diseases that soon became OIE listed, emerged in the Americas or were introduced from Asia. Spherical baculovirus, caused by MBV, although discovered in the Americas in imported live . Penaeus monodon, was subsequently found to be common in wild and farmed Asian, Australian and African penaeids. Infectious hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHHNV) was introduced from the Philippines in the mid 1970s with live . P. monodon and was eventually found throughout the Americas and subsequently in much of the shrimp farming industry in the eastern hemisphere. Taura syndrome emerged in . Penaeus vannamei farms in 1991-1992 in Ecuador and was transferred to SE Asia with live shrimp by 1999 where it also caused severe losses. White Spot Disease (WSD) caused by White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) emerged in East Asia in ~1992, and spread throughout most of the Asian shrimp farming industry by 1994. By 1995, WSSV reached the eastern USA via frozen commodity products and it reached the main shrimp farming countries of the Americas located on the Pacific side of the continents by the same mechanism in 1999. As is the case in Asia, WSD is the dominant disease problem of farmed shrimp in the Americas. The most recent disease to emerge in the Americas was infectious myonecrosis caused by IMN virus. As had happened before, within 3. years of its discovery, the disease had been transferred to SE Asia with live . P. vannamei, and because of its impact on the industry and potential for further spread in was listed by the OIE in 2005. Despite the huge negative impact of disease on the shrimp farming industry in the Americas, the industry has continued to grow and mature into a more sustainable industry. In marked contrast to 15-20. years ago when PLs produced from wild adults and wild PLs were used to stock farms in the Americas, the industry now relies on domesticated lines of broodstock that have undergone selection for desirable characteristics including disease resistance.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)174-183
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 2012


    • Crustacean bacterial diseases
    • Crustacean viruses
    • Disease
    • OIE

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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