Co-infection of Pacific White Shrimp by White Spot Syndrome Virus and Decapod Hepanhamaparvovirus

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By Milthon Lujan

The rapid growth of the shrimp farming industry has led to the emergence of various diseases. According to studies, approximately 60% of disease-related losses in shrimp aquaculture are caused by viral pathogens, with the remaining caused by bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens.

Worldwide, over 20 viruses infect shrimp, and some of them can cause infectious diseases that seriously affect shrimp health.

Scientists from Kyungpook National University, Chulalongkorn University, and Gachon University investigated the presence of White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) and Decapod Hepanhamaparvovirus (DHPV) in samples from Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei), pond water, crabs (Helice tridens), and live feed samples in shrimp farms in three provinces of Korea.

White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV)

White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) is usually associated with 80 to 100% mortality, occurring three to ten days after the appearance of clinical signs.

WSSV has a wide host range among crustaceans and mainly affects commercially cultured marine shrimp species. Economic losses due to this virus have been estimated at US$8-15 billion.

Decapod Hepanhamaparvovirus (DHPV)

Decapod Hepanhamaparvovirus (DHPV), previously known as Hepatopancreatic Parvovirus (HPV), infects penaeid shrimp. The range of this virus includes at least 10 species of penaeid shrimp worldwide.

DHPV infects epithelial cells of the hepatopancreas and midgut. Studies have reported that marine shrimp infected with DHPV do not always show signs of disease; however, symptomatic shrimp tend to be infected with other pathogens.

Main Findings

“In this study, two viral pathogens, WSSV and DHPV, were detected in samples collected from nine anonymous farms in three western provinces of Korea (Chungcheongnam-do, Jeollabuk-do, and Jeollanam-do),” they report.

According to the study results, Decapod Hepanhamaparvovirus (DHPV) was detected in all shrimp samples, and among them, 41 samples were detected with White Spot Syndrome Virus.

In this context, scientists warn that although DHPV does not cause significant mortalities, disease monitoring and management are crucial because it is associated with reduced shrimp growth rates, even without visible symptoms.

“The occurrence of DHPV infections and their spread in nearby shrimp farms pose a significant threat to shrimp production,” they emphasized.


“This study aimed to investigate the presence of WSSV and DHPV in various samples (such as pond water, live feed, and habitat) to identify disease transmission routes within the shrimp farm. Additionally, the study sought to evaluate the potential of collected samples as a source of contamination,” the scientists reported.

They highlight that DHPV has recently been removed from the WOAH list of reportable pathogens because it is no longer considered to have a negative economic impact on shrimp farming.

“However, the possibility of co-infection with a new type of DHPV and endemic WSSV could significantly impact the global shrimp industry, extending beyond Korea,” they concluded.

The study has been funded by the Korean Society of Ginseng and the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education. It also received funds from the Korea Institute of Marine Science & Technology Promotion (KIMST) funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

Ji Hyung Kim
Department of Food Science and Biotechnology,
Gachon University,
Seongnam 13120, Korea.
Email: kzh81@gachon.ac.kr

Jee Eun Han
College of Veterinary Medicine, Kyungpook National University,
Daegu 41566, Korea.
Email: jehan@knu.ac.kr

Reference (open access)
Lee, C., Jeon, H. J., Kim, B., Suh, S., Piamsomboon, P., Kim, J. H., & Han, J. E. (2023). Cultured Penaeus vannamei in Korea co-infected with white spot syndrome virus and decapod hepanhamaparvovirus. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1111/jwas.13023

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