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Confirmed case of Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus in Queensland

News release | 21-Apr-2015

Biosecurity Queensland has quarantined a farm west of Townsville while it manages a confirmed case of Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV).

CGMMV affects cucurbit species, such as cucumber, melons, watermelon, bitter-gourd, bottle gourd, zucchini, pumpkin and squash.

Queensland Chief Plant Health Manager Mike Ashton said this appeared to be an isolated case at one location and was the first time CGMMV had been found in Queensland.

“We are moving quickly and working with the property owner to ensure the infection remains confined at this site,” Mr Ashton said.

“Following detection of the virus in the Northern Territory in September last year, Biosecurity Queensland has conducted surveillance on selected properties in all major cucurbit growing areas and of specific properties based on tracing information provided by the response program in the NT. This particular property was surveyed after a line of seeds returned a positive result.

“Imported cucurbit seeds were identified as a potential source of the CGMMV outbreak in the Northern Territory, and while the Australian Government has since tightened conditions on imported seeds, in this case it is believed the seeds would have been imported before this occurred.

“Based on previous surveillance, the link between the infected property and a known source of infection, and the property’s isolation from other cucurbit growers, we are hopeful the virus is not widespread in Queensland and we will be working to achieve eradication.

“While there is a probable link to the source of the virus on this property, Biosecurity Officers will still conduct thorough tracing investigations to identify other possible causes and to determine if the virus has been moved from the property.”

Mr Ashton said Queensland was a major producer of watermelons, rockmelons and cantaloupe with the cucurbit industry valued at an estimated $130 million.

“There are no human health issues associated with CGMMV,” he said.

“The virus causes mosaic-like mottling of leaves on affected fruit, which do not make it to market.

“Fruit symptoms include internal rotting, yellowing or dirty red discolouration, while externally fruit can show lesions on the stem or malformation of fruit shape.”

Mr Ashton said CGMMV was easily transmitted through infected plant material, seed, and water, and also through contaminated equipment and clothing.

“In September last year CGMMV was confirmed on a number of properties in the Northern Territory,” he said.

“Queensland responded by restricting the movement of cucurbit plants, fruit, and seeds, as well as soil, machinery, tools and packing equipment associated with cucurbit crops, from within, into, or out of Queensland without an inspector’s approval.”

CGMMV is a notifiable pest under the Plant Protection Act 1989.

Growers are urged to check their crops for the virus and contact Biosecurity Queensland immediately to report any suspected cases of CGMMV.

For more information on CGMMV, visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

Follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@BiosecurityQld).

Media contact: Mark Hodder, 3087 8598