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Whitespot Update, October 12, 2017


According to the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, all samples collected in a recently concluded, statewide search for whitespot were negative!  What the results indicate is that the disease may not be established in Moreton Bay and may not have spread into other parts of Queensland.  Biosecurity Queensland’s goal is to eradicate whitespot from Australia.  The negative results suggest its disease control activities were effective in containing the virus and stopping it from spreading.


More than 4,120 shrimp and crab samples were collected from 94 locations along the east coast of Queensland and Moreton Bay and the Logan and Brisbane river basins.  While these results are very encouraging more testing is needed because the samples were not collected during the shrimp-breeding season.  Biosecurity Queensland will recommence testing for whitespot in early 2018 when the shrimp breeding begins.


Two years of consecutively negative test results are required to prove the disease is no longer in Queensland waterways and to regain international whitespot disease-free status.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do these results mean that whitespot disease is gone?  No, the results do not mean that whitespot disease is gone, but they do indicate the disease may not be established in Moreton Bay.


Why are movement restrictions still in place if all the tests were negative?  It is possible that whitespot is still present in and around Moreton Bay at a very low prevalence.


What is done during a whitespot test?  Technicians at Queensland’s Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory pulverized a shrimp to obtain DNA through a process called DNA extraction.  The DNA undergoes a diagnostic process (real-time PCR) that makes billions of copies of the DNA.  Then a fluorescence marker is used to highlight any DNA from the virus that’s present.  All positive tests are sent to the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in the state of Victoria and tested again.


Why are test done throughout Queensland if whitespot was only found in southeast Queensland?  To ensure the disease has not spread from southeast Queensland.


What is Queensland doing to stop the disease?  The whitespot program is focused on continued surveillance, prevention and control activities around southeast Queensland.  To date, all infected shrimp farms in the Logan River region have been disinfected and are lying fallow for twelve months to ensure the virus is no longer present.  Movement restrictions have been put in place to reduce the likelihood of the virus being spread through human assistance.  Fishing restrictions have also been put in place in high-risk areas around shrimp farms.


Source: Email to Shrimp News International from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (  Subject: White Spot Update.  October 12, 2017.

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