Taura syndrome virus loads in Litopenaeus vannamei hemolymph following infection are related to differential mortality
Taura syndrome is an economically important disease that can cause catastrophic losses of farmed shrimp. Without effective treatments for Taura syndrome virus (TSV), one approach to managing the problem is to selectively breed shrimp populations with increased disease resistance. To better understand why some shrimp can survive exposure to TSV, information is needed on how viral loads progress and persist following infection. Data reported here show that mortalities occurring mostly within 1 wk of infection are associated with high viral titers, and titers as high as 10(8.7) genome copies per mu l hemolymph can persist for up to 3 wk in survivors. Thereafter, and up to similar to 9 wk post-exposure, most surviving shrimp remain chronically infected with TSV loads ranging from 10(4) to 10(8) genome copies per mu l hemolymph. Challenging shrimp from families with varying TSV resistance showed that in shrimp from less resistant families, the TSV load in hemolymph increased earlier and reached higher peaks than in shrimp from more resistant families. Although TSV loads in moribund shrimp from families differing in resistance did not differ significantly, infection loads among survivors were lower in shrimp from more resistant families. Taken together, the data suggest that lethal infection loads can occur in both more and less susceptible shrimp and that survivors represent shrimp in which viral expansion is better contained.