Hepatopancreatic Parvovirus (HPV) Disease of Shrimp and Prawns


Category 3 (Host Not in Canada)

Common, generally accepted names of the organism or disease agent

Hepatopancreatic parvovirus disease, HPV.

Scientific name or taxonomic affiliation

DNA­containing parvovirus. Identification as a parvovirus was based on: 1) its replication in intranuclear inclusion bodies, 2) a DNA viral genome as indicated by intensely Feulgen positive reaction and 3) its small size (22 to 24 nm diameter).

Geographic distribution

Enzootic in captive, wild and hatchery-reared penaeids in Korea, Yellow Sea area of P.R. China, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Kenya, Israel and Kuwait. Introduced into South America with imported and cultured Asian penaeid shrimp and in now found in cultured P. vannamei in North and South America and in cultured and wild penaeid shrimp along the Pacific coast of western Mexico and coastal El Salvador and Brazil. HPV may now have a cosmopolitan distribution.

Host species

Penaeus merguiensis, Penaeus semisulcatus, Penaeus chinensis (=orientalis), Penaeus esculentus, Penaeus monodon, Penaeus indicus, Penaeus penicillatus, Penaeus japonicus, Penaeus stylirostris and Penaeus vannamei. A HPV-like agent was found in Macrobrachium rosenbergii.

Impact on the host

Typically affects mid-juvenile stages with signs of necrosis and atrophy of the hepatopancreas, poor growth rates, anorexia and reduced preening with a concurrent increase in surface and gill fouling by epicommensal organisms. Increased mortality, particularly under stress or crowding conditions has been noted. Although HPV has been accused of causing serious disease losses on farms, it is seldom observed alone and usually occurs in multiple agent epizootics with opportunistic pathogens like Vibrio sp. Thus, the significance of HPV in causing epizootics and economic losses is not fully understood.

Diagnostic techniques

Tissue Imprint: Hepatopancreatic cells with small eosinophilic inclusions associated with the nucleolus (developing HPV inclusion bodies) or large basophilic inclusions intimately associated with a hypertrophied nucleolus and within the hypertrophied nucleus (mature HPV inclusion bodies) from a bisected hepatopancrease that was dabbed on a clean glass slide and stained with Giemsa's stain.

Histology: Single prominent basophilic (with haematoxylin and eosin stain), Feulgen positive inclusion bodies in hypertrophied nuclei of hepatopancreatic tubule and epigastric caecal epithelial cells with lateral displacement and compression of the host cell nucleolus and chromatin margination of the nucleus. Early in their development, HPV inclusions are small eosinophilic bodies centrally located within the nucleus and closely associated with the nucleolus.

Electron Microscopy: Small diameter (22-24 nm) DNA-containing isometric parvo-like viral particles in the intranuclear inclusion bodies.

DNA Probes: DIG-labeled gene probes A-1.9 and S-2.0 provide a sensitive method for detecting HPV when used in Dot blots and in situ hybridization. These probes do not react with the HPV-like virus from M. rosenbergii from Malaysia.

Methods of control

No known treament.


Lightner, D.V. 1988. Hepatopancreatic parvo-like virus (HPV) disease of penaeid shrimp. In: C.J. Sindermann and D.V. Lightner (eds.). Disease Diagnosis and Control in North American Aquaculture. Developments in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science 17. Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 30-32.

Lightner, D.V. (ed.). 1996. A Handbook of Shrimp Pathology and Diagnostic Procedures for Disease of Cultured Penaeid Shrimp. World Aquaculture Society, Baton Rouge.

Lightner, D.V., T.A. Bell, R.M. Redman, L.L. Mohney, J.M. Natividad, A. Rukyani and A. Poernomo. 1992. A review of some major diseases of economic significance in penaeid prawns/shrimp of the Americas and Indopacific. In: M. Shariff, R.P. Subasinghe and J.R. Arthur (eds.). Diseases in Asian Aquaculture. I. Fish Health Section, Asian Fisheries Society. Manila, Philippines, p. 57-80.

Lightner, D.V. and R.M. Redman. 1985. A parvo­like virus disease of penaeid shrimp. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 45: 47­53.

Lightner, D.V. and R.M. Redman. 1992. Penaeid virus diseases of the shrimp culture industry of the Americas. In: A.W. Fast and L.J. Lester (eds.). Marine Shrimp Culture: Principles and Practices. Developments in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science 23. Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 569-588.

Lightner, D.V., R.M. Redman, R.R. Williams, L.L. Mohney, J.M.P. Clerx, T.A. Bell and J.A. Brock. 1985. Recent advances in penaeid virus disease investigations. Journal of the World Mariculture Society 16: 267­274.

Park, M.A. 1992. The status of culture and diseases of penaeid shrimp in Korea. In: W. Fulks and K.L. Main (eds.). Diseases of Cultured Penaeid Shrimp in Asia and the United States. The Oceanic Institute, Honolulu, p. 161-167.

Citation Information

Bower, S.M. (1996): Synopsis of Infectious Diseases and Parasites of Commercially Exploited Shellfish: Hepatopancreatic Parvovirus (HPV) Disease of Shrimp and Prawns.

Date last revised: September 1996
Comments to Susan Bower

Date modified: