PLUM POX VIRUS CONFIRMED
Ottawa, June 23, 2000 –– The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
today announced the discovery of plum pox virus (PPV) in an orchard outside
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Sample testing by the CFIA’’s Centre for Plant
Health in Sidney, B.C. confirmed the infection. This is the first discovery of
plum pox virus in Canada.
Plum pox virus, also known as sharka, is a serious disease infecting
stone fruit species of the genus Prunus including peaches,
nectarines, plums, apricots and ornamental varieties. PPV does not kill trees
but it renders the fruit tasteless and low in sugar, making it unsuitable for
eating and processing. There is no treatment for infected trees. They must be
destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease. PPV is spread over short
distances by aphids and over larger distances through grafting of infected
budwood or nursery stock. PPV does not affect humans.
The strain of the virus found in Canada has been identified as Strain D.
The same strain of PPV was found in Prunus trees in Pennsylvania in October
1999. This was the first time PPV was found in North America. The CFIA suspended
the importation of Prunus plant material from the U.S. in November 1999. The
nectarine trees outside of Niagara-on-the-Lake confirmed to have PPV were
imported from Pennsylvania.
All Prunus plant material (including nursery trees, scionwood and
rootstocks) imported from Pennsylvania in the last three years have been placed
under a prohibition of movement, and the surveying of this material for the
presence of PPV began this spring. The CFIA has initiated a PPV Emergency
Program to intensify surveys to assess and determine the extent of the disease
and take actions to control its spread.
The CFIA is consulting with the National Plum Pox Virus Task Force, a
group of scientists, provincial advisors and industry representatives on
activities to prevent and control the spread of this disease. The CFIA will
continue to provide updates on the progress of the survey and eradication
activities. For further information, the public toll-free line is
For more information, media may contact:
Media Relations: (613) 228-6682
A Fact Sheet on Plum Pox Virus can be found
on the CFIA’’s Website at: http://www.cfia-acia.agr.ca