Citrus leprosis is a devastating viral disease of citrus. It has persisted in Brazil and Argentina from the early 1930s to the present time with significant mortality of new wood growth, reduction in tree canopy development, premature leaf and fruit drop, and significant yield reduction. Citrus leprosis occurred in Florida citrus between the mid 1800s and 1962, with severe outbreaks between 1907 and 1925. No occurrence of the disease has been reported over the past 40 years in Florida and recent surveys in 2001-2002 did not detect the disease. These results allow us to speculate that citrus leprosis no more longer occurs in Florida. The virus-mite-plant relationship was broken by a combination of factors possibly including sulfur sprays, pruning and severe freezes that occurred in Florida that killed thousands of acres of citrus trees. Today, citrus leprosis must be considered an exotic disease and efforts must be taken to avoid its reintroduction since we continue to have potential mite vector populations in Florida citrus orchards across the State. Citrus leprosis is uniquely different from many other plant viruses, which are usually systemic in plant tissues. Citrus leprosis is non-systemic and Brevipalpus mites play a singular role in the spread of the disease within and between citrus trees in the orchard. Sweet orange varieties are susceptible. Planting resistant citrus cultivars, pruning to reduce disease inoculum and seasonal acaricide sprays to control the mite vectors are the only existing means of minimizing the current impact of this disease.
Species 1: Acari Tenuipalpidae Brevipalpus (false spider mite)
Keywords: citrus leprosis
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