Experts: Crawfish virus might not be as bad as feared

June 27, 2007
Reported by Associated Press

A crawfish virus first detected in May has been confirmed in ponds throughout south Louisiana, but researchers say it might not be as destructive as initially feared.

White spot disease is not harmful to humans but can be deadly to crustaceans, and its presence put crawfish farmers on edge this year when discovered in a pond near Arnaudville.

The disease has now been documented in wild crawfish from the Atchafalaya Basin and in 62 out of 94 ponds with completed test results.

The LSU Agricultural Center says tests have confirmed the virus in ponds in 11 parishes, including most of the Acadiana region and Iberville and East Baton Rouge parishes.

Aquaculture specialist Greg Lutz says the disease appears to be widespread.

But Lutz says less than one-tenth of the infected ponds have experienced significant crawfish deaths.

Lutz says the disease is not expected to have a major impact on the crawfish industry next year.