The next country where ToBRFV is found is Spain. Rafael Sánchez Trujillo, head of the Plant Health Service of the Junta de Andalucía, spoke about finding the virus in an Almeria greenhouse during the Semilla Innova congress in Almeria, local media report. Official sources cannot confirm the finding yet - only that a report has been sent to the European Union containing developments about the virus. Since the virus has a quarantaine status, this is obligated within the EU.
By now the Almeria greenhouse is isolated and all contaminated plantings are treated conform the protocols that are set up for this situation, the local publication reports. "All risks have been minimised to make sure neighbouring farms are protected", Rafael explained, comparing how they treated the Xylella Fastidiosa outbreak that occurred some years ago and that was eradicated.
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. Since its first appearance, the virus has been found in California, Germany, California, Mexico, Italy, Greece, China, Israel, Jordan and UK.
Also in the Netherlands the virus is spreading. In total the virus now has been found at 10 greenhouses: 6 in the Westland region and 4 outside of it. In addition there's 7 other greenhouses where there's a serious suspicion of the virus.
Although not officially confirmed by governmental bodies, also greenhouses in the US (outside California) and Canada are said to be contaminated - although strict hygiene measures have helped the growers getting rid of the virus.
Since there is no vaccine nor resistant varieties available to combat ToBRFV, getting rid of the virus has to be done by cleaning the greenhouse thoroughly. "Biosecurity is your main defense as prevention is key", is the common belief and the reason why many greenhouses nowadays are closed to visitors.
Since many Spanish growers grow in the soil, the virus is expected to be very dangerous to the country. A similar situation has occurred in Italy, where the virus is said to spread continuously.
ToBRFV is part of the group of tobamo viruses, which includes about thirty different viruses. The crops most affected by ToBRFV are tomatoes and peppers. In tomatoes, it produces chlorosis, mosaic and mottling and narrowing of the leaves. Occasionally, necrotic spots appear on peduncles, chalices and petioles. In the fruits, yellow or brown spots can appear, as well as a rugoseness that makes the fruits unmarketable. The fruits may also be deformed and have ripened irregularly.