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Plum Pox (PPV)
Plum Pox (PPV), or Sharka disease, was first reported in eastern Europe between 1915-1918 on plum in Bulgaria, but may have been observed as early as 1910 in Macedonia. The viral nature of the disease wasn't described until 1932 (Atanosoff). In 1933 the disease was observed on apricots in Bulgaria (Christoff) but it was not until the early 1960s that it was reported in peaches from Hungary. During that period the disease moved north and east from Bulgaria into Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Russia. In the years following World War II the disease has swept across western Europe, Egypt, Syria, Cypress, Chile, India, and arrived in the US in 1999.
Plum pox potyvirus has a rather restricted natural host range within the genus Prunus. It infects peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, almonds, and sweet and tart cherry, and there are a number of strains based on biology, serological reactions, and molecular and biological data. At least four strains or serogroups of plum pox virus exist, the D strain being detected in Pennsylvania in 1999. PPV-D is the European strain and does not appear to infect cherry, nor is it the most virulent of the PPV strains.
Ohio has a small peach industry, 2005 statistics showing 1300 acres of trees in production in the central, north-central, and north-east counties. Despite the distance from the PPV finds in Adams and Cumberland counties in south-central Pennsylvania, and negative survey results from 2000, 2001, and 2002, a PPV survey was conducted in 2008 in orchards that may have received plant material from Pennsylvania counties where PPV was detected. 306 samples were collected from five increased risk orchards. No positive detections were made in Ohio.
Plum pox symptoms are most pronounced on infected fruit, which may be distorted and display ring spots or blotches. Leaf and flower symptoms include streaking and ring patterns on petals and veinal chlorosis and rings on leaves. The presence of the virus can be confirmed by a serological (ELISA) test. If you suspect you have plum pox in your Prunus orchard or dooryard tree contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control Section.
Update on PPV: 1000 samples were collected from sites in 13 counties, and tested for PPV by ELISA. All samples were negative for the virus. This project was conducted with 2010 Farm Bill funds.