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The "Disastrous" Reason Why Christmas May Not Be The Same

Say it ain't so! 

An incredibly contagious disease has been found in two separate prawn farms in Australia, less than three weeks before Christmas, raising concerns that the country's entire supply could be wiped out before the big day.

The "disastrous" white spot disease has never been detected in Australia before until tests at prawn farms south of Brisbane returned the worrying result.

"Australia has been the only major prawn-growing country that has not had white spot disease," Queensland's chief biosecurity officer Jim Thompson told ABC. "It can cause significant mortality in farmed prawns.

"Over 80 per cent of prawns can die."

In response to the outbreak - which was detected at an undisclosed location south of the Logan River last week before a neighbouring farm was also found to have the disease - biosecurity teams have swooped in to destroy the affected prawns.

Mr Thompson also revealed that authorities have concerns about three other properties. 

"We're obviously concerned about whether this can move into the environment," he continued. "The controls we've got in place are to protect the environment as well as other prawn-farming enterprises, and we think that's very much under control."

Meanwhile, chief executive of the Australian Prawn Farmers Association Helen Jenkins has assured seafood vendors that none of the affected prawns will make their way to market, labelling it an "isolated incident" that "does not pose a threat to human health or food safety."

Biosecurity Queensland is encouraging locals to closely examine any prawns or crabs they may have caught or bought in the area for symptoms of the disease, namely loose shells with white spots or unusual swimming patterns. 

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