White spot disease (WSD) is an internationally notifiable disease of crustaceans caused by White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV). On 22nd November 2016 a WSSV incursion was first reported in Black Tiger Prawns (Penaeus monodon) cultured on a prawn farm (1IP) taking water from the Logan River, SE QLD.
In response to the WSD outbreak FRDC quickly implemented the follow
ing projects to support the prawn farming industry and provide clear direction towards planning for future recovery for affected farms and fisheries; and protecting the biosecurity of areas away from the Logan River control zone.
Future Research Needs
It is likely that FRDC will need to support a range of WSD R&D projects in future as immediate, medium and longer term priorities are identified through current project activities and ongoing consultation between industry, national and international aquatic disease experts and government R&D and biosecurity agencies.
FOOD SAFETY AND INFORMATION FOR CONSUMERS
White spot disease does not pose a threat to human health or food safety.
What is white spot disease?
White spot disease (WSD) is a highly contagious viral disease of decapod crustaceans including prawns, crabs, yabbies and lobsters. White spot disease is caused by white spot syndrome virus (WSSV).
Where is white spot disease found?
WSD is widespread throughout prawn farming regions in Asia and has become established in prawns farmed in the Americas where it has caused severe losses.
How is white spot disease spread?
The disease is primarily spread through the movement of infected animals or water. Birds feeding on infected animals can contribute to the spread of the disease.
Can fish spread the virus?
No. Fish are not carriers of the virus that causes WSD.
What does white spot disease look like?
Prawns with WSD may have a loose shell with numerous white spots (0.5-2.0mm in diameter) on the inside surface of the shell and a pink to red discolouration.
How to report white spot disease
It is crucial that all aquaculture operators, commercial and recreational fishers and other waterway users report unusual signs in prawns (including bait) and other crustaceans.
Early detection provides a better chance of being able to contain and eradicate this serious disease.
If you see crustaceans that you suspect have the disease it is important to take note of the location and time and report this information immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
Alternatively phone the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 from anywhere in Australia.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) - http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/public/wahid.php/Reviewreport/Review/viewsummary?fupser=&dothis=&reportid=21737
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources http://www.outbreak.gov.au/current-responses-to-outbreaks/white-spot-disease
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/animal-industries/animal-health-and-diseases/a-z-list/white-spot-disease
Australian Prawn Farmers Association http://apfa.com.au/
Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries http://www.prawncouncil.com.au
Trade data for prawns
Senate Inquiry “The biosecurity risks associated with the importation of seafood and seafood products (including uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat) into Australia” http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/Seafoodimportation
Inspector-General of Biosecurity’s review of the circumstances leading to the 2017 suspension of uncooked prawn imports into Australia and the biosecurity considerations relevant to future trade in uncooked prawns http://www.igb.gov.au/Pages/suspension-uncooked-prawn-imports.aspx
Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review http://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/partnerships/nbc/intergovernmental-agreement-on-biosecurity/igabreview
Commercial operator information pack