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Suspected cases outside of Westland

ToBRFV Europe update: more cases confirmed

The NVWA (Netherlands food and consumer product safety authority) has confirmed a second ToBRFV discovery. The agency also reports that a number of companies with suspected cases can be found outside of the Westland. 

It will not be announced which companies it concerns. The NVWA does report that 'some' of the highly suspected cases are located outside of the Westland. The danger is that from those cases it will spread further. Earlier, Sjaak van der Tak of Glastuinbouw Nederland said "If it now also concerns companies outside the Westland, it will become a national problem."

Today also EPPO confirms that they were recently informed about the finding on ToBRFV in Greece. "Symptomatic plants of tomato (Solanum lycopercisum) grown for fruit production in a greenhouse (1500 m2) were observed by a grower in August 2019 on the island of Crete in the regional unit of Chania. The identity of the virus was confirmed in September. Phytosanitary measures, including the destruction of the plants in the greenhouse, have been adopted with the aim to eradicate the outbreak. Official surveys are carried out in the area", they say. 

The origin of the outbreak is still under investigation, but it is considered that the virus was probably introduced through infected plants for planting. The pest status of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus in Greece is officially declared as: Present, under eradication.

Harmless to humans and animals
The virus is harmless to humans and animals but can cause serious damage to crops. Moreover, it is very contagious and can be easily transmitted.

With more and more contaminations popping up, the question arises whether or not resistance is possible. Rik Lootens of breeding company Syngenta was also asked that question. "Only in five or six years' time, ToBRFV-resistant tomatoes can actually be harvested. Until then, we must do everything we can to stop and eliminate the virus," he told Omroep West.

And what about the bell peppers and chilli peppers? The varieties that are commonly used in the Netherlands are resistant to the virus and so those crops are not at risk, says Rik.

Take action
Dutch growers take action to stay safe and when it comes to the virus this often means closing their doors. Therefore also the tenth edition of the Plantise Kassenloop (Greenhouse Run), that was scheduled for Saturday 1 February 2020 in Bleiwsijk, The Netherlands, is cancelled.

For plant breeders, the risks are very high and the entire batch will have to be destroyed if the virus is found. Hygiene measures have been further tightened within Plantise to reduce the risk of infection and spread of the virus. This makes it impossible to organize the Plantise Greenhouse Run in a responsible manner.

What can growers do?

During the British Tomato Conference knowledge was shared on how to prevent ToBRFV and ADHB just published the talk online. You can watch it below and learn from Matthew Everatt (Defra), Anna Skelton (Fera) and Aviv Dombrovsky (Volcani Institute).

Also Professor Dombrovsky, who is the pre-eminent global expert on this plant virus, spoke on the virus. He shares his knowledge and experience of the Israeli situation and that of other countries, highlights key research activities and some recommendations for virus management.  


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