Culprit behind massive shrimp die-offs in Asia unmasked

In a major breakthrough, researchers at the University of Arizona have identified the causative agent behind a mysterious disease that has been decimating shrimp farms in Asia.

The disease, known as Shrimp Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) or Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Syndrome (AHPNS), has over the past two years caused large-scale die-offs of cultivated shrimp in several countries in Asia, where 1 million people depend on shrimp aquaculture for their livelihoods.

In 2011, the Asian region produced 3 million tonnes of shrimp, with a production value of $13.3 billion.

Infected shrimp ponds experience extremely high levels of mortality early in their growing cycle — as high as 100 percent death rates in some cases.

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