USDA Confirms Citrus Disease in Texas and Louisiana
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced the presence of Elsinoë australis, or sweet orange scab, in Texas and Louisiana. This is the first detection in the United States of the fungal pathogen, which poses no risk to human health.
The infected citrus trees were found on residential properties in Harris and Orange counties in Texas, and in Orleans parish, Louisiana.
“The early detection of this disease clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the Citrus Health Response Program,” said Rebecca Bech, deputy administrator for APHIS’ plant protection and quarantine program. “We have taken swift action by issuing emergency action notifications requiring that fruit, leaves, branches and other plant parts remain on these properties to prevent the spread of the disease. We are communicating closely with our partners in Texas and Louisiana as we continue to survey to determine the boundaries of the infected areas.”
APHIS has established a technical working group of subject matter experts to discuss survey and control strategies in response to sweet orange scab. The group will continue to meet to address this developing situation and recommend mitigation strategies to enhance APHIS’ regulatory framework.
Sweet orange scab is a fungal pathogen of citrus caused by Elsinoë australis that results in unsightly, scab-like lesions developing on fruit rinds and, less often, on leaves and twigs. The damage produced is superficial and does not affect internal fruit quality or taste. Infected fruit are more likely to drop prematurely, and the scabby lesions reduce the fruit’s fresh market value. In addition, the disease may stunt young citrus seedlings. The disease has been found in South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay) and in Oceania (Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue and Samoa).
For information on the cooperative citrus health response program, please visit
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