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Friday 5 September 2003
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is investigating a possible
case of impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV), a plant disease which primarily
affects ornamental plants.
MAF received a report on 22 August 2003 when a positive test result for INSV
was obtained from a freesia plant in a Canterbury nursery. MAF is currently
awaiting test results to confirm the identification of the virus.
As part of its investigation MAF is now working with nurseries throughout the
country to ascertain the spread of the possible virus and also to determine how
the disease entered New Zealand. MAF is also investigating a case of this
disease in an upper North Island nursery.
"INSV has a wide host range of well over 100 plant species, mainly
ornamental plants rather than vegetables and is mainly a pest in
glasshouses," said Barney Stephenson, MAF's, National Adviser Plant Pest
Surveillance and Response.
"This virus is closely related to the tomato spotted wilt virus which
has been present in New Zealand since 1968.
"INSV is an unwanted organism under the provisions of the Biosecurity
"Symptoms caused by INSV depend on host species, environmental
conditions, nutritional levels and age and stage of plant development when
infected. Symptoms can include black discoloration at the base of the leaf and
stems, brown leaf spots and wilt.
"MAF will be working closely with industry groups on this investigation.
The disease can be managed by planting virus-free stock, destroying plants that
show symptoms and monitoring and controlling thrips (very small insects)
populations," said Barney Stephenson.
All media enquiries to:
Brett Sangster, MAF Director Corporate Communications 04 498 9882 or 027 247 8777 Email: email@example.com