NE501: Eradication, Containment and/or Management of Plum Pox (Sharka) Disease
Statement of Issues and JustificationPlum Pox disease of Prunus species is caused by a plant virus that previously did not occur in North America. In the fall of 1999, this virus was identified in commercial plantings of peach in the Northeast region. Based on European experiences where the disease originated, Plum Pox Virus (PPV) has the potential to significantly damage the productivity and quality of commercial plantings of fruit throughout the United States wherever Prunus species are grown. To prevent devastating losses to the U.S. Prunus industry and prevent increased annual pesticide applications required to control the PPV insect vectors, this disease/virus must be eradicated. If eradication is not possible, then disease management to limit its incidence and geographic range will be required. Unmanaged spread of this virus could bankrupt major portions of the U.S. fruit industry in a very short period.
Any strategy to eradicate, contain, or manage Plum Pox disease will first require extensive sampling to determine the distribution of the causal pathogen, followed by the development of epidemiologically sound programs for the uprooting of trees or alternative hosts, in infested areas. If these measures fail to eradicate or contain the virus, disease management protocols will need to be developed rapidly in support of this important agricultural industry.
Back to Top