New Surveys Show Pennsylvania Remains Free of Plum Pox Virus

November 5, 2010

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 5, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today that the latest round of surveys shows the state’s decade-long effort to eradicate the Plum Pox Virus was a success and the virus has not reappeared.

A rigorous survey conducted over the summer tested more than 76,500 leaf samples from across the state. State and federal agriculture department crews began collecting samples from 21 counties in May and finished at the end of September. Of the samples collected and tested, more than 66,000 came from orchards, residential properties, nurseries, and untended wild settings in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties.

“Protecting Pennsylvania agricultural producers’ livelihoods is a top priority,” said Redding. “The results of the summer surveys have shown the state continues to be free of Plum Pox, and we commend the hard work of the survey crews that are executing the research.”

Pennsylvania was declared free of Plum Pox Virus in October 2009, after three years of negative testing. The past summer’s survey marks the first of three years of required monitoring during the recovery phase.

While no primary quarantine areas remain in the state, a few limited areas are under nursery quarantine restrictions. With the latest negative test results, the quarantine will be lifted in Monaghan Township, York County. Two more years of monitoring with all-negative results are required before the nursery quarantine in Cumberland and Adams counties could be lifted.

Plum Pox Virus severely affects stone fruit production. After it was found in Adams County peach trees in 1999, state and federal agriculture officials teamed with Penn State University to impose a 300 square-mile quarantine area, perform aggressive surveillance and develop an eradication program.

Since trees cannot be cured of Plum Pox, affected growers were required to destroy all exposed stone fruit trees within the quarantined areas in the four affected counties. In Pennsylvania, 1,675 orchard acres were destroyed.

For more information about Plum Pox Virus, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on “Plant and Animal Health.”

Media contact: Jean Kummer, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Source: newswire

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