Since 1993, massive mortalities have occurred among the penaeid shrimp Penaeus orientalis cultured in Korea. The major gross findings of the naturally occurring cases were 2 to 6 mm sized white spots on the inside of the carapace and reddish discolorization. Amphophilic to basophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies were readily observed in the epithelia of epidermis, foregut, gills, and lymphoid organs. Electron microscopy revealed enveloped and non-occluded ellipsoid to rod-shaped virus particles within the nucleus of lymphoid organ cells and the interstitial cells of the hepatopancreas of both naturally and experimentally infected shrimp. The size of the virions was 375 X 167 nm and the nucleocapsid was 290 X 75 nm. The agent which caused ectodermal and mesodermal necrosis in penaeid shrimp in Korea resembled white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) found in Taiwan with respect to gross signs, histological changes and viral morphology. Its viral morphology differed from that of the rod-shaped nuclear virus of Penaeus japonicus (RV-PJ) found in Japan. However, a 643 bp PCR product with an identical sequence to that from RV-PJ was detected. The results suggested that the Korean agent combined characters described for WSSV and RV-PJ.