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taura Syndrome Virus_ Venezuela_ 3_14_2005

Taura Syndrome Virus , Venezuela

March 14, 2005

Impact Worksheet

Summary: On March 8, 2005, Taura syndrome (TS) in shrimp was reported to the OIE by Venezuela. This is the first reported occurrence of TS in shrimp in Venezuela. TS is caused by the Taura syndrome virus and has caused outbreaks in farmed shrimp in the Americas, Indonesia and China since first being described in Ecuador in 1992. The last reported case of TS in the US was in June of 2004 in Texas.

Shrimp production in Venezuela accounted for less than 1% of world production in 2002. In 2004, the US imported 16.3 thousand metric tons of cooked and frozen shrimp and shrimp products from Venezuela, which was a 63% increase from 2003.

How extensive is Taura syndrome in Venezuela , and what was Venezuela ’s disease status prior to the outbreak?

Venezuela reported an outbreak of TS in shrimp to the OIE on March 8, 2005. The affected species of shrimp was not identified in the report. This is the first reported outbreak of TS in Venezuela. At the time of the report, 26 outbreaks had been identified in 3 different states. The states affected by the outbreaks are Zulia State (14), Falcon State (8), and Nueva State (4). Deaths reported were 700 million, with 2 billion shrimps considered susceptible. The shrimp were positively diagnosed with TS using RT-PCR at the Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, which is an OIE Reference Laboratory for TS. Mortality was seen in shrimp after clinical signs of TS were observed. The clinical signs seen were red points in the telson, vacillating swimming and soft carapace in shrimp weighing less than 5 grams. The origin of the infection is unknown at this time; spread has been through avian feces, cannibalism and transport of sick animals. Control measures being implemented are zoning and movement control within the country.

Source: OIE Disease Information Report

What is Taura syndrome?

TS is caused by the Taura syndrome virus, a single-stranded RNA virus in the family Picornaviridae. TS generally occurs over the course of a single molt in juvenile shrimp and may have a sudden onset within 5-20 days or a more chronic course of several months. Signs of infection include weakness, a soft shell, an empty digestive tract, and diffuse expansion of red chromatophores in the appendages. Mortality can vary from 5-95 percent. Farmed shrimp species vary in their susceptibility to TS.

Potential routes for introduction of shrimp viral diseases to aquaculture facilities include infected broodstock, contaminated vehicles, containers, and other fomites, and transfer by birds and bird feces. For additional information about potential routes of shrimp viral disease transmission, please see the April 23, 2004 impact worksheet about white spot disease of shrimp in the US . This worksheet can be found at /vs/ceah/cei/taf/iw_2004_files/wsd_0404_files/wsd_us_0404.htm.

TS was last seen in the US in June of 2004 in an outbreak that occurred in Pacific white shrimp in farmed shrimp in Texas.

Sources: Brock JA. Special topic review: Taura syndrome, a disease important to shrimp farms in the Americas . World J Micro Biotech 1997;13:415-418. Fact Sheet for Taura syndrome virus. Gulf States Marine Fisheries Comission,, accessed June 14, 2004. An Initial Survey of Aquatic Invasive Species Issues in the Gulf of Mexico Region, Gulf of Mexico Program, US Environmental Protection Agency, August 2001,, accessed June 15, 2004, CEI Impact Worksheets.

What is Venezuela ’s place in the international market for shrimp and shrimp products?

During 2001 and 2002, Venezuela’s shrimp and prawn production leveled off at about 22,000 metric tons after more than doubling between 1999 and 2001. Shrimp and prawn production in Venezuela amounted to less than 1% of world production in 2002. Shrimp production data shown in Table 1 represent both wild caught and farmed shrimp. The most recent FAO figures for shrimp production in Venezuela are for 2002.

Table 1: Shrimp Production, Venezuela , 2001 and 2002




(metric tons)


(metric tons)

% of World Production

Shrimp, prawns



< 1%

Source: United Nations FAO

What are the US imports of shrimp or shrimp products from the Venezuela ?

Between 2003 and 2004, US imports of Venezuelan shrimp products rose from 10 thousand to 16.3 thousand metric tons, an increase of 63%. Over the same two year period, the value of Venezuelan shrimp exports to the US rose by 40%, from $61 to almost $86 million. Shrimp products imported from Venezuela by the US are cooked and frozen. Ninety-five percent of the shrimp imports from Venezuela are cooked. Cooking shrimp is considered an appropriate method to mitigate risk of virus transmission with respect to shrimp.

Table 2: US imports of shrimp products from Venezuela , 2003 and 2004



2004 1




(metric tons)

$value (1,000’s)


(metric tons)

Shrimps, prawns, cooked, frozen (030613)





Source: World Trade Atlas

1 2004 preliminary data

What are Canada and Mexico ’s imports of shrimp or shrimp products from Venezuela ?

Preliminary data indicate that during 2004 Canada and Mexico respectively imported 104 and 2,214 metric tons of shrimp products from Venezuela. Canada’s 2004 shrimp imports have an estimated value of about $700,000 (Canadian dollars), while Mexico’s imports of Venezuelan shrimp during 2004 are valued at $10,626,449 (US dollars).

Source: World Trade Atlas

What is the level of passenger traffic arriving in the United States from Venezuela ?

During 2004, an estimated 620,796 air passengers arrived in the US from flights originating in Venezuela. As part of USDA, APHIS-PPQ’s Agricultural Quarantine Inspection Monitoring system, 1,432 air passengers arriving in the US from Venezuela in fiscal year 2004 were sampled for items of agriculture interest. Of the sampled passengers, one passenger was found to be carrying fish or seafood which could be considered a potential risk.

Source: Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, US Department of Commerce, USDA APHIS-PPQ Agricultural Quarantine Inspection databases, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

CEI’s plans for follow up:

No follow-up is currently planned regarding the outbreak of TS in Venezuela. If you need more information or if you want to comment on this worksheet, you may reply to this message, or contact Cynthia Johnson at 970-494-7332 or Wolf Weber at 970-494-7222 .

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