Plum pox virus found in N.Y. orchard


ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell plant scientists, working with state and federal officials, have detected plum pox virus (PPV) for the first time in New York state on trees from an orchard in Niagara County.
The discovery was made by the Cornell University Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic early in July and confirmed by the USDA.
Plum pox is a viral disease of stone fruits, including plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines.
“Specialists are currently surveying a five-mile radius surrounding the initial detection to determine the extent of infestation,” said Jessica A. Chittenden, communications director for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Virus info. The disease, spread by insects, is not harmful to humans.
The PPV strain identified in New York is identical to the D strain of the virus found in both Canada and Pennsylvania, according to the USDA.
The D strain is less virulent than other strains, making it easier to contain.
New York is only the second U.S. state where plum pox has been detected.
Virus detectives. Cornell scientists identified the virus while performing laboratory tests for a national seven-year survey for the virus.
Virus history. PPV, also known as Sharka, has been devastating stone fruit crops in Europe since the early 1900s, when it was first reported in Bulgaria, then spread throughout Europe.
In recent years the disease has spread to the Americas, first being found in Chile in 1992, in the orchards of Adams County, Pa., in 1999, and in Ontario and Nova Scotia, Canada, in 2000.
Under control. The disease remains localized at this time and state and federal official continue efforts to contain and eradicate PPV before it has a chance to spread to other parts of the North American continent.
For more information contact Karen L. Snover-Clift, director of Cornell’s Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic, at 607-255-7860.


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