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Australian state faces fruit disease threats

The Australian state of Queensland's horticulture industry body, Growcom, has called for urgent action to eradicate the cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV), which has been detected for the first time in the state on a melon farm this month. The state faces a "perfect storm of biosecurity emergencies" following the detection of Panama disease (Fusarium oxysporum tropical race 4) on two banana farms and concerns about an outbreak of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). The authorities say that they have acted quickly to contain the CGMMV, which can be spread by contact with infected plant material, machinery, soil, water or wildlife. The virus was first detected in the Northern Territory in September 2014, where it is considered established, but subject to an official control and containment programme, the Australian Department of Agriculture points out. Panama disease was detected in Queensland in March after having been found in the Northern Territory in 1997. Experts have determined that it is not technically feasible to eradicate the soil-borne disease in Queensland.

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