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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 18, 2004

Virus hits shrimp farm on Kaua'i

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

A Kaua'i shrimp farm has been placed under quarantine by the state Department of Agriculture after some of the shrimp were found to suffer from white-spot syndrome virus.

WSSV is highly contagious and fatal for shrimp and other crustaceans, state officials said, but poses no risk for humans even when infected shrimp are eaten.

The outbreak at the CEATECH shrimp farm was also reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to the Office of International Epizooties, which is the animal equivalent to the World Health Organization.

Although the shrimp disease has been reported in Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, and Central and South America, this is the first occurrence in Hawai'i, state officials said.

"Due to the isolation of the farm on Kaua'i," said Dr. James Foppoli, state veterinarian, "there is an excellent chance of containing this outbreak and eradicating the disease."

WSSV produces white spots on shrimp, rapidly followed by death.

CEATECH farmers suspected a problem in one of their 40 growing ponds on April 1 and sent a sample to the Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The lab reported the positive test results on Wednesday. That night, the state Agriculture Department issued a quarantine order, which prevents CEATECH from moving shrimp off the farm without authorization.

USDA veterinarians in Honolulu as well as state officials are working with CEATECH to eliminate the disease from the farm.

Reach Karen Blakeman at 535-2430 or kblakeman@honoluluadvertiser.com