Sampling and evaluation of white spot syndrome virus in commercially important Atlantic penaeid shrimp stocks.
Chapman, R.W., Browdy, C.L., Savin, S., Prior, S. and Wenner, E.
Dis. Aquat. Org.
In 1997, white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) was discovered in shrimp culture facilities in South Carolina, USA. This disease was known to cause devastating mortalities in cultured populations in Southeast Asia and prompted concern for the health of wild populations in the USA. Our study surveyed wild shrimp populations for the presence of WSSV by utilizing molecular diagnostics and bioassay techniques. A total of 1150 individuals (586 Litopenaeus setiferus, 477 Farfantepenaeus aztecus and 87 F. dourarum) were examined for the presence of WSSV DNA by PCR. A total of 32 individuals tested positive and were used in a bioassay to examine the transmission of disease to healthy individuals of the culture species L. vannamei. DNA sequencing of PCR products from a positive individual confirmed that the positive individuals carried WSSV DNA. Significant mortalities were seen in test shrimp injected with tissue extracts from heavily infected wild shrimp. These data confirm the existence of WSSV in wild shrimp stocks along the Atlantic Coast and that the virus can cause mortalities in cultured stocks.