EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 11 - 2003 Num. article: 2003/171

Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum causes a new and serious disease of banana in Eastern Africa

In Uganda, a new and serious disease of banana has been observed in the major banana-growing areas (districts of Mukono and Kayunga) since 2001. The first symptoms included discoloration of flowers and withering of flower bracts, premature flowering of young plants, leaf yellowing, and wilting. Affected plants die within a month. Samples of diseased tissues were sent to CABI Bioscience in United Kingdom, and the presence of Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum was detected. A similar bacterium had previously been reported to cause wilt on Ensete ventricosum in Ethiopia. In Uganda, the disease is spreading very rapidly and the destruction of the affected crops by burning is, so far, the only control method available. Further studies are under way to confirm the identification of the bacterium and to characterize isolates from Ethiopia and Uganda. This emerging disease is considered as a very serious threat to banana production in Eastern Africa, and potentially worldwide.


Korobko, A.P. (1997) Bacterial wilt of pseudobanana (Ensete ventricosum).
Mikrobiologichnii Zhurnal, 59(2), 44-53 (abst.).

Yirgou, D.; Bradbury, J.F. (1974) A note on wilt of banana caused by the enset wilt organism Xanthomonas musacearum.
East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 40(1), 111-114.

CABI Bioscience web site – News release of 21st January 2003.
New disease threatens Eastern African banana production

ProMED postings
Banana wilt, banana – Uganda, 2002-01-04
Matoke disorder, banana – Uganda, 2002-01-18
Banana wilt – Uganda (Kayunga), 2002-07-17
Banana wilt, banana – Uganda, 2003-03-03