Vibriosis in Vannamei – Prevention and Treatment

Vannamei is a species of shrimp that is widely farmed for food. Unfortunately, in recent years, there has been an increase in vibriosis in vannamei shrimp. Vibriosis is a serious bacterial disease that can cause significant mortality in shrimp. This blog post will explore the causes of vibriosis in vannamei shrimp and how it can be prevented and treated. We will also provide some general tips on shrimp farming and management to help reduce the risk of vibriosis outbreaks.

Vibriosis in Vannamei

What is Vibriosis?

Vibriosis is a disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus. It is the common cause of food poisoning in the USA. Symptoms of vibriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. The illness usually lasts for 3-5 days. Most people with vibriosis recover without treatment. However, some people may develop a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a condition that can lead to kidney failure and death. People at increased risk for developing HUS include young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. Treatment for HUS typically includes dialysis and supportive care in a hospital setting.

What causes Vibriosis?

Poor water quality is one of the most significant causes of vibriosis in vannamei. Ammonia and nitrite levels that are too high or too low can lead to an imbalance in the bacterial population in the shrimp intestine, making them more susceptible to infection by Vibrio bacteria. Poorly aerated ponds can also contribute to the problem, as Vibrio bacteria thrive in low-oxygen environments. Other possible causes of vibriosis include stress from crowding, handling, or transport; exposure to contaminated water; and a lack of food or other nutrients in the diet.

A history of vibriosis outbreaks in a pond may also make shrimp more susceptible to infection. However, one of the most important causes of vibriosis in vannamei is shrimp farming practices. Poorly managed shrimp farms provide the perfect environment for vibrio bacteria to thrive. As a result, the bacteria can contaminate the water and shrimp, leading to disease outbreaks. In addition, farm workers who do not follow proper hygiene practices can spread the bacteria to other shrimp farms.

Other potential causes of vibriosis in vannamei include wild-caught shrimp imported from areas where the disease is prevalent and contaminated seafood sold at markets. Improperly cooked seafood can also lead to vibriosis, as the bacteria can survive in raw or undercooked fish and shellfish. Vibriosis is caused by the bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which is found in warm salt water. The bacteria can enter the shrimp through the gills, where it multiplies and causes damage. Vibriosis is also commonly spread through contaminated food, such as raw or undercooked seafood. 

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Shrimp Disease

Symptoms of Vibriosis

There are a few symptoms of vibriosis in vannamei that farmers should be aware of. The most common symptom is white spot disease, characterized by white spots on the shrimp’s body and fins. Other symptoms include cloudy eyes, lethargy, and decreased appetite. If left untreated, vibriosis can lead to death. Vibriosis symptoms include lethargy, appetite loss, white spots on the body, and increased mucus production. In severe cases, the bacteria can cause death.

How to prevent Vibriosis?

Vibriosis is a serious disease that can affect shrimp and other seafood. It is caused by a bacteria called Vibrio parahaemolyticus, found in warm, salty water. Symptoms of vibriosis include white spots on the body, lethargy, reduced appetite, and death. There are several things that shrimp farmers can do to prevent vibriosis:

  1. Use clean, fresh water for your shrimp farm – Vibrio parahaemolyticus thrives in warm, salty water, so using clean freshwater will help prevent the spread of the bacteria.
  2. Keep your shrimp farm clean – Bacteria can easily spread in dirty environments, so it is important to keep your farm clean and free of debris.
  3. Inspect your shrimp regularly – Checking your shrimp for signs of disease is an important part of prevention. If you see any sick shrimp, remove them from the population immediately to prevent the spread of the disease.
  4. Treat your shrimp with antibiotics – If you are using antibiotics to treat another disease, they may also help prevent vibriosis. Antibiotics are not a cure-all but should be combined with other prevention methods.
  5. Quarantine new arrivals – Any new shrimp introduced to your farm should be quarantined for at least 30 days before being released into the main population. This will help ensure that any diseased shrimp are

Tips to control Vibriosis in Vannamei

Vibriosis is one of the most common diseases in farmed shrimp and can cause serious economic losses. It is caused by a bacterium called Vibrio harveyi and is characterized by white spots on the shrimp shell and death. There are several ways to control vibriosis in vannamei shrimp:

  • Use clean, fresh water for all farming operations. This includes water used for ponds, hatcheries, and nurseries.
  • Maintain proper pond conditions, including dissolved oxygen levels, pH, and ammonia levels.
  • Reduce stocking density in ponds to prevent overcrowding and stress, making shrimp more susceptible to disease.
  • Quarantine new arrivals of shrimp to your farm and observe them for signs of disease before mixing them with the rest of your stock.
  • Implement a biosecurity program on your farm to prevent the introduction and spread of pathogens. This should include measures such as disinfecting equipment and clothing, restricting access to ponds, and maintaining separate areas for different life stages of shrimp production (e.g., hatchery, nursery, and grow-out).

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Shrimp Breeds

Vibriosis treatment in Vannamei

  • Vannamei shrimp are susceptible to vibrios caused by the bacterium Vibrio harveyi. Infected shrimp show lethargy, increased mucus production, and white spots on the body. If left untreated, vibriosis can lead to death. However, there are some options for treating vibriosis in vannamei shrimp. One option is to use antibiotics such as oxytetracycline or kanamycin. Another option is to use bioactive compounds such as Chitosan or probiotics.
  • Antibiotics are typically the first choice for treating vibriosis because they are effective at killing the bacteria that cause the disease. However, antibiotics can also kill beneficial bacteria in the shrimp’s gut, leading to problems such as poor growth or increased susceptibility to other diseases.
  • Bioactive compounds are a more natural option for treating vibriosis and have fewer side effects than antibiotics. For example, Chitosan is an antimicrobial compound that is effective against Vibrio harveyi. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help restore balance in the shrimp’s gut microbiota and improve disease resistance.
  • Vibriosis is a bacterial infection that affects shrimp. It is caused by the bacterium Vibrio harveyi and is one of the most serious diseases of shrimp. Symptoms of vibriosis include lethargy, loss of appetite, white spots on the body, and death. If left untreated, vibriosis can kill an entire shrimp population.

There are several treatment options for vibriosis. One option is to use antibiotics. Antibiotics are effective at treating vibriosis but can also kill beneficial bacteria in the shrimp’s gut. This can lead to other problems, such as enteritis (intestine inflammation). Another option is to use probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help restore the balance of bacteria in the gut. They are safe and effective at treating vibriosis and preventing other problems associated with antibiotic use. Some important methods are;

  1. Heat treatment: Heating shrimp to 45°C for 10 minutes effectively reduces Vibrio levels.
  2. Acidification: Adding acetic or lactic acid to the water can lower the pH and help control Vibrio.
  3. Freezing: Freezing shrimp at -20°C for 24 hours will also kill the bacteria.
  4. Antibiotics: Several different antibiotics are effective against Vibrio, but they should only be used as a last resort due to the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria.


Vibriosis is a serious threat to the health of vannamei shrimp, and strict prevention and treatment measures must be taken to protect these valuable animals. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, a combination of prevention strategies (such as biosecurity measures, probiotics, and vaccines) and treatment options (including antibiotics and disinfectants) can help to control vibriosis in vannamei shrimp populations effectively.

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