On September 2, 2005, APHIS confirmed the findings of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) that identified the first U.S. detection of citrus greening caused by the bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. The disease was detected through the APHIS-FDACS’ Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program (CAPS). FDACS has imposed regulations governing the movement of certain material from Miami-Dade County. PPQ is imposing similar restrictions to support our combined efforts to prevent movement of citrus greening disease from infested areas, effectively immediately.
All ornamental citrus psyllid host plant material in addition to all citrus is quarantined and prohibited from movement out of Miami-Dade County. A compliance agreement is being developed in conjunction with FDACS that will include recommended controls and treatments for the citrus psyllid. These treatments will allow for citrus psyllid host plant material (other than citrus) from Miami-Dade County to be shipped within the State of Florida and to non-citrus producing states. The certification process for host plants of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus is more complex and will take more time to develop certification procedures. For all other counties, the interstate shipping (shipments outside the State of Florida) of all citrus psyllid host plants (including citrus) is permitted, except to citrus producing states (Arizona, California, Louisiana, Texas, and Puerto Rico). If citrus greening disease is detected in additional counties, the regulations established for Miami-Dade County will be applied. The current Citrus Canker quarantine areas remain in effect; these quarantines prohibit the movement of citrus out of the quarantine area.
The Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus and citrus psyllid host lists are posted on the Florida Division of Plant Industry website at: http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/enpp/ento/citrusgreening.html. The most common hosts of both Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus and the citrus psyllid are: Citrus and citrus relatives, Murraya spp. (Orange Jasmine, ‘Lakeview’, Curry Leaf, etc.), Triphasia trifolia (Lime Berry), Fortunella spp., Clausenia spp. (Wampi) and Severinia buxifolia (Chinese Box-Orange). Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jack Fruit) is another common host of the citrus psyllid but has not yet been identified as a host of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. Citrus greening disease is considered to be one of the most serious citrus diseases in the world. The bacteria are transmitted primarily by insect vectors (citrus psyllid). The citrus psyllid was first detected in Florida in 1998 and has since been detected throughout the state.
State and federal officials have implemented a unified command response and are presently assessing the extent of the disease in Florida citrus through a comprehensive survey of the area. Teams of experts, including scientists, state and federal agricultural officials and academia, have been established to quickly mobilize a response. Because of the threat this disease poses to the Nation’s citrus, federal, and state agricultural officials have had on-going discussions planning for the appropriate detection and response initiatives that would need to be employed if and when the disease was identified in the United States. The early detection of the disease by FDACS and APHIS/CAPS and the citrus greening survey is the result of these pre-planning activities.