In 1993 and 1994, an epizootic of disease (white spot) occurred among cultured shrimp in China, resulting in mass mortality. During the periods of outbreak epizootiological surveys were undertaken. Based on these surveys it is known that the disease occurred among populations of cultured Penaeus chinensis, P. japonicus, and P. monodon, infecting shrimp from 2.4 cm to adult. The disease presumably spread among farms as a result of transport of contaminated shrimp seedlings and seawater. Water temperatures exceeding 25 degree C caused the disease to spread more rapidly. Challenge experiments showed the causative agent was highly virulent. Both naturally and experimentally infected shrimp exhibited white spots on the carapace. Moribund shrimp contained turbid hemolymph, hypertrophied lymphoid organ, and a necrotic hepatopancreas. By electron microscopy, viral particles were observed in gills, stomach, lymphoid organ, and hypodermal tissue of infected shrimp. The virions were slightly ovoid with an envelope and averaged 350 X 150 nm and nucleocapsids measured 325 X 120 nm in size. By use of negative stains, complete virions were 375 X 157 nm and unenveloped nucleocapsids averaged 395 X 83 nm.