EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 09 - 2003 Num. article: 2003/132

Situation of Pepino mosaic potexvirus in EPPO countries

As Pepino mosaic potexvirus (PepMV – EPPO Alert List) is causing a new disease of tomato which is spreading in the EPPO region, the EPPO Secretariat send a questionnaire to all its member countries to review the present situation. Results of the questionnaire were discussed by the EPPO Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations. The EPPO Secretariat has summarized below the answers received. When countries have stated the pest status, it is indicated in bold. In other cases, the EPPO Secretariat has summarized the pest situation which is in also indicated in bold according to the terms of FAO ISPM no 8.

Absent, no pest record.

As required by the Commission Decision 2001/536/EC, a survey for the presence of PepMV was done from 2001-02-01 to 2002-09-30. All collected samples were tested at CRA Gembloux (ELISA-test).
Production of fruits
During quality inspections on tomatoes at auctions, special attention was given to the presence of suspicious symptoms. 3 fruit samples with suspicious symptoms were taken for further investigation and 1 of them was found positive. The producer concerned was visited and strict hygienic measures were imposed. On 39 production units of tomatoes, leaf samples with suspicious symptoms were taken. Positive samples were found on 2 premises. Strict hygienic measures were imposed and later on no more positive samples were found.
Production of plants for planting
Every week, the production units of tomato plants intended for planting were inspected so that samples could always be taken from 4 weeks old plants or elder ones. In total 212 mixed leaf samples were taken, covering all the lots. None of these samples were found positive.
Absent: found in 2001/2002 at 2 production sites of tomato fruits and eliminated; never been found in nurseries producing tomato plants for planting.

A survey was carried out in 2003 in nurseries producing tomato plants and tomato fruits without any finding of this virus. During surveys done in 2001 and 2002, PepMV was found each year in one nursery (not the same) producing tomato fruits. Absent, no longer found. Found in 2001 and 2002, each year in one nursery of tomato fruits, but not found in 2003.

In 2002, tomato producers of 6 districts were inspected and 18 samples were tested on site for PepMV using ‘pocket diagnostic kits’. PepMV was not detected. Absent, confirmed by survey.

In the framework of Commission Decision 2003/64/EC, a national survey of tomato crops was set up. During summer 2002, one outbreak of PepMV was detected in one glasshouse producing tomato fruits in the region ‘Centre’. At the beginning of 2003, new outbreaks were detected in Bretagne in glasshouses producing tomato fruits. The origin of these outbreaks could be related to the import of one infected seed lot from another EU Member State. Compulsory control measures were applied, including prophylactic measures at infected premises. Present, under official control.

Since 1999, there have been four outbreaks of Pepino mosaic virus in tomato-producing companies in Germany, which have been communicated to EPPO earlier. Although the survey for 2003 has not yet been accomplished there are no new findings of PepMV up to now. Nevertheless, one of the companies which was found to be infested last year proved to be infested again in 2003. As the occurrence of symptoms induced by PepMV was observed only rarely in the affected holdings the economic impact is considered to be low. In order to investigate further the possible economic effects of PepMV on tomato yield, a ring test was conducted in 2002, with the participation of Germany, Spain, Netherlands and United Kingdom. The preliminary results of this ring test indicate a moderate effect of this virus on the tomato crop. Pest status: Present, only in one premise, under protected cultivation. Transient, actionable, under eradication

All commercial tomato glasshouse crops have been checked in 2003 and there was no evidence of infection. PepMV has never been found on a growing crop in Guernsey. Monitoring of imported fruits for signs of the virus is continuing. Interceptions have been significantly less than last year. Infected fruits are destroyed. Absent, confirmed by survey.

In 2002, a survey was conducted on tomato in the main area of glasshouse vegetables of the country. ELISA testing of randomly sampled tomato plants gave negative results. This survey was continued in 2003. The declared pest status in Hungary is the following: PepMV is not listed on the Hungarian quarantine list. PepMV is considered to be absent in Hungary.


PepMV was found at one production site late in 2002. Symptoms were not noticed by the grower who also stated that he had not noticed any drop in yield or quality. The infected plants were disposed of by deep burial, the house disinfected and the house left idle for 3 weeks. Absent, found once in 2002 at one production site and eliminated.

Not recorded on growing plants in Jersey, but identified on imported tomato fruits from Spain (including Islas Canarias). Consignments with positive identification were destroyed. All imported tomatoes are inspected at port of entry by Plant Health Inspectors. Absent, no pest record.

Surveys started in 2003 and PepMV was not found. Absent, no pest record.

National surveys for the presence of PepMV have been conducted since 2001. In 2001, 180 samples of tomatoes (corresponding to 2.74 ha), 28 samples of capsicum (0.8 ha) and 2 samples of aubergine (0.2 ha) were tested and found free from the virus. In 2002, 685 samples of tomatoes (15.369 ha) and 140 samples of cucumber (1.04 ha) were tested and found free. PepMV was detected in 2002 on tomato plants imported from Spain and the Netherlands. In 2003, surveys continued. So far, PepMV has not been detected neither in national production nor on imported tomatoes. Absent, confirmed by surveys.

Over the past year, a survey for the presence of PepMV covering the whole Maltese archipelago was conducted and results clearly indicated the absence of this virus.
Absent, confirmed by survey.

Results of surveys and research done in the Netherlands are the following:
1. Survey of tomato fruit-producing companies
The survey was conducted at tomato production sites throughout the country. From June to September 2002, tomato crops (leaves and fruits) were inspected for symptoms and samples were collected. When symptoms were present, samples of shoots and, if applicable, fruits were taken from the plant. When no symptoms were found on the crop, leaf samples were taken from 10 plants in the glasshouse. All samples were sent to the Plant Protection Service in Wageningen and tested by ELISA.
For the survey, 101 randomly selected tomato production sites were visited. 35 of these were infested with PepMV. At 7 tomato production sites, symptoms were observed and the presence of PepMV was confirmed by testing. At the other 94 production sites, leaf samples were taken at random and in 28 of these production sites PepMV was detected by testing. The sources of infection remained unclear.
2. Inspection and testing of nurseries
All 27 nurseries of the Netherlands producing tomato plants were visually inspected every 2 weeks by the Naktuinbouw from October 2001 till September 2002. When suspected plants were observed, they were tested by ELISA. In addition, random leaf samples were taken at each nursery every 2 weeks and tested by ELISA. In total, 250 inspections were carried out in these nurseries and 75,000 plant samples were tested by ELISA. No symptoms of PepPV were observed during these inspections. All ELISA tests were negative. No nursery was found infected by PepMV.
3. Research
Research was done on symptom development and yield loss on different tomato cultivars inoculated with different virus isolates in a ring test by different EU Member States. Additional research was done on yield loss caused by PepMV in tomato. Preliminary results of the yield loss experiment in the Netherlands indicate that there is only a small yield loss.
Present, found at a few production sites of tomato fruits, never found in nurseries producing tomato plants for planting.

PepMV has been found in only one case in tomato production in Norway. This was in March 2001, in a glasshouse producing tomato fruits. Shortly after, eradication measures were carried out, involving destruction of all plant material and growing media, and disinfection of the glasshouses. The outbreak occurred near Stavanger, in the main tomato-producing area in Norway. Surveys were carried out in 19 other tomato production sites in the area, but the virus was not detected. Neither was the source of infection found. The outbreak was considered successfully eradicated in April 2001. PepMV has not been found since this outbreak. Absent. Found once in 2001 and eradicated.

PepMV was found in 2001 at the Research Centre for Cultivar Testing in Slupia Wielka on 2 plants of glasshouse tomato of Dutch cultivar which were subject to variety testing (DUS: distinctness, uniformity, stability). The circumstances of this occurrence may suggest that the source of the contamination was of foreign origin. The phytosanitary measures were taken and the infected plants were removed and destroyed. This was the first and only case of Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) occurrence in Poland. Absent, found once in 2001 on 2 tomato plants at a research station, eradicated.

A survey programme for PepMV has been implemented since 1999, in the main tomato-producing areas of the country. The programme includes phytosanitary inspection of plant nurseries, and tomato production fields. In the last three years 1.151 samples were taken and 1608 lab tests performed, the results were negative. Absent, confirmed by survey.

PepMV was surveyed in protected crops of tomato in 2002. The phytosanitary inspection service inspected 52 glasshouses for visual symptoms and took 18 samples of tomato showing leaf distortion, chlorosis or mosaic. Samples were tested by DAS-ELISA with a commercial antiserum obtained from Plant Research International, Wageningen, NL. All samples were negative. In 2001, similarly 51 tomato plants and some weed species had been tested for the presence of PepPV and found negative. The declared PepMV status in Slovenia is the following: Absent, confirmed by survey.

PepMV has been detected in Spain in 2000. Emergency measures have been adopted in the EU for tomato. According to Commission Decision 2001/536, surveys were carried in Spain. During 2001/2002, 5,070 samples were tested and 377 were found positive. Positive samples had been collected from Andalucía (135 samples from the province of Almería), Galicia (59 samples from the provinces of Coruña, Lugo y Pondevedra), Comunidad Valenciana (35 samples from the provinces of Alicante and Valencia), and Murcia (148 samples) [Not found in Baleares – but no data was given for Islas Canarias]. There is some incidence on the quality of the product. But the general economic impact in Spanish conditions is small. When figures of tomato production are compared before and after the appearance of the virus, losses are not significant. Present, found in Andalucía, Galicia, Comunidad Valenciana and Murcia.

PepMV has not been found in Turkey. Absent, no pest records.

United Kingdom
There have been three outbreaks in 2003, all in glasshouses producing tomatoes for consumption – one in the north west of England, one in the north-east and one in the south.  Different cultivars are infected in each case.  All outbreaks are subject to official control measures aimed at containing the outbreak.  These measures include strict hygiene precautions and restrictions on marketing of fruit.
The NPPO continues to look for infected fruits in trade and restrict movement of such fruits to ensure that they do not go to tomato production or plant propagation premises.  However, limited resources and the strong focus on Phytophthora ramorum mean that the level of inspection work on tomatoes is much lower than in previous years.
Research into the risks posed by this disease, including its economic impact, is continuing, with a commercial scale trial due to report late in the year.  Whilst the impact on yield appears variable, with little impact on yield reported in some cases, the principal impact seems to be on quality, with a reduction in production of top quality fruit.  The UK industry is dependent on production of top-quality tomato fruit and lacks alternative outlets; a reduction in quality therefore has a significant economic impact.
Present, found in 2002 at 3 production sites of tomato fruits (in England: north-west, north-east, south), under official control.

PepMV has never been found in Ukraine. Absent, no pest record.


NPPOs of EPPO member countries
EPPO Secretariat, 2003-09.