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Agriculture Press Release

February 8, 1999

Canker Found in Hendry, Broward Counties

TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford announced today the possible presence of the Asian strain of citrus canker in both a Hendry County commercial citrus grove and a residential area of Broward County.

Confirmation is still pending from laboratories at the University of Florida in Gainesville, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, and a private laboratory in Indiana, but preliminary diagnosis from plant pathologists with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry working over the weekend indicate the likely presence of Asian strain citrus canker on samples taken from both areas.

"We are in the process of conducting a thorough assessment of the area in order to determine the most appropriate course of action pending laboratory confirmation of the disease," Crawford said.

In Hendry County, initial surveys show approximately 200 trees believed positive in a 300-acre grove of grapefruit located roughly 30 miles east of Immokalee.

In Broward County, around 80 properties over a three-square-mile area in southeast Coral Springs show suspect signs of citrus canker. The initial find was on a single grapefruit tree in a residential yard, which was discovered by a district plant inspector during a routine inspection. The inspector noticed the suspicious symptoms and alerted the Citrus Canker Eradication Program office in Miami.

Agriculture personnel are meeting today in Immokalee to begin further survey and detection efforts in the grove and surrounding area in Hendry County. When surveying is complete, officials expect to remove infected trees as quickly as possible to prevent further spread. Similar efforts are being conducted in Broward County as well.

Citrus canker is a plant disease that is not harmful to humans or animals. It spreads rapidly, producing premature fruit drop, and leaf, stem and fruit lesions. The only known way of eradicating the disease is destruction of infected trees.

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For more information:

Hendry County: Leon Hebb
(941) 658-3684

Dade/Broward County: Vivian Rudd-Myrtetus
(305) 275-1900


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