Eradication of Xanthomonas fragariae in the United Kingdom
Xanthomonas fragariae (EPPO A2 List) was detected for the first time in the United Kingdom in 2004. A grower in the South-East of England had contacted the NPPO in October 2004 after observing suspect symptoms in a strawberry crop (Fragaria ananassa cv. ‘Elsanta’) some weeks after harvest had finished. Plant samples were collected and were found to be infected by X. fragariae. Following this initial identification, further inspections of other crops at the infected farm were undertaken. These revealed infection in two additional fields on either side of the original Elsanta crop. Tracing-back studies showed that the infected plants had been imported from the Netherlands in May 2004. On arrival the infected lot of Elsanta had been split between 4 farms. The other 3 farms were located in the South-East of England, in South-West England and in Scotland. Crops on these farms were inspected for symptoms and samples were taken for testing. Symptoms of X. fragariae were observed at the second site in South-East England. No visual symptoms were observed in South-West England or Scotland, but following testing the presence of X. fragariae was suspected at the site in Scotland. The infected plants in Scotland were all destroyed voluntarily by the grower prior to completion of testing. There was no evidence of infection at the site in South-West England, further inspections and testing were carried out throughout 2005 but infection was not confirmed and the crop was destroyed at the end of its fruit bearing season in 2005. At both infected sites in South-East England, official control measures were taken. Growers did not destroy all plants immediately but chose to maintain their crops until harvest with strict hygiene measures to prevent any further spread. Strawberry crops grown on these farms continued to be monitored during the following growing seasons and X. fragariae was no longer found. It is considered that X. fragariae has been eradicated from the United Kingdom.
The situation of Xanthomonas fragariae in the United Kingdom can be described as follows: Absent, detected for the first time in 2004 in 3 productions sites (2 in South-East England and 1 in Scotland), eradicated.
Matthews-Berry SS, Reed PJ (2009) Eradication of the first outbreak of Xanthomonas fragariae in the United Kingdom. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 39(2), 171-174.