USDA confirms citrus canker case in South Carolina
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of citrus canker disease in a nursery in South Carolina which has sold potentially infected citrus plants to customers in 11 states.
According to an APHIS statement, the disease was detected at a nursery that sells to customers online, and other nurseries did not receive these plants. Together with state partners, APHIS is working to collect and destroy the plants shipped to consumers in 11 states and trace plants that were sold to determine additional locations of potentially infected plants.
The states include Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.
These immediate measures are focused on protecting the citrus industry as well as nurseries and other establishments that sell citrus plants wholesale and direct to consumers.
Currently, citrus canker is found throughout Florida and in limited areas of Louisiana and Texas. APHIS is working with state partners to contain the disease, and federal and state quarantines exist in these states.
Additionally, citrus canker was recently confirmed in Alabama, and APHIS is working with state partners to establish a federal quarantine to parallel the state quarantine.
Citrus canker causes citrus leaves and fruit to drop prematurely, and results in lesions on citrus leaves, stems and fruit. Fruit infected with the bacterium that causes citrus canker (Xanthomonas axonopodis) is safe to eat, but it may not be marketable because of the lesions.
The disease affects all citrus varieties. Citrus canker is not harmful to people or animals.
The USDA recently opened a revision of interstate quarantine protocols to deal with outbreaks such as citrus canker.