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Jan 5, 2023

Fungus Threatens Shrimp Populations across Central and South America

A disease called E.H.P. that stumps the growth of shrimp has been detected in Central and South America. The Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, and the Belize Shrimp Growers Association have since issued a call for shrimp farmers to activate their disease prevention measures. The disease causes size variation in a shrimp population because it attacks the animal’s digestive system. We spoke with Sylvia Mendez, the Aquatic Animal Health Officer at BAHA, to learn more.


On the phone: Sylvia Mendez

On the phone: Sylvia Mendez, Aquatic Animal Health Officer, BAHA

“EHP is a short name for what we call Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP). The name refers to the fungus that attacks the hepatopancreas of the shrimp. The hepatopancreas of the shrimp is like a combination of the liver and the pancreas of the animal. So, the hepatopancreas is the storage, digestion organs of these animals. This disease is affecting that specific issue. That is why it affects the growth. You will be able to see one of the main signs is what we call size variation. So, in this case the variation is really high and showing SV of higher than thirty percent. So, what you will see in a population is a lot of variation, small and big animals. What normally the shrimp growers will do will try to put in place bio-security measures at the farm. So, this means controlling the entrance of people. Usually you won’t be allowed into production areas. You can enter the farm to offices and places like that but you cannot enter the production area.”


BAHA conducted surveillance at the end of 2022 where they were able to confirm that the disease is not in Belize. Mendez also noted that E.H.P. does not affect humans.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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