Citrus yellow vein clearing virus strikes Tulare County - report

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Citrus yellow vein clearing virus strikes Tulare County - report

For the first time ever, the Citrus Yellow Vein Clearing Virus (CYVCV) has been found in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of the devastating disease on a farm in Tulare during a routine inspection, according to a report by the Sun-Gazette.

“CYVCV is an emerging disease causing escalating economic losses in multiple citrus species and varieties,” the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) website states. “This is a disease of quarantine significance to the United States.”

Citrus Research Board’s Chief Research Scientist Melinda Klein said that there is little information on how the nation or state will cure and address the virus, as it is so new to the region. 

The first step will be to measure the spread of the virus to surrounding regions such as Fresno and Kings counties. Klein added that there are also no research plans being conducted yet until the state understands how widespread the virus is.

The symptoms of CYVCV are similar in most countries, with China experiencing leaves that appeared “water-soaked,” with clear and yellow veins stretching across the warped citrus leaves. 

The virus weakens in the heat but worsens in colder climates and the appearance of symptoms varies on temperature and location of these trees, and in some cases can cause mosaic-like structures on the fruit body, or ring spots on leaves, according to the CDFA.

“The virus may not reveal a lot of symptoms right now, because it seems to be heat sensitive, but as we cool off into the fall, if people see any kind of unusual symptoms, we would encourage them to speak with CDFA,” Klein said.

The cause of it reaching the U.S. is still unknown, though CYVCV is spread through aphids, tree grafting and using equipment that was not cleaned after being exposed to the virus.

Citrus is a billion-dollar operation in Tulare County, with the Central Valley making up 75 percent of California’s total citrus production. As far as the CFDA knows, CYVCV cannot be controlled or cured, only prevented, so it could result in serious economic loss.

APHIS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are taking the lead in investigating the virus instead of the state or county because it is a national concern, not just a local one, Klein said.

 To read the full report about the Citrus yellow vein clearing virus, please click here.

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