France: Virus affects melons, cucumbers and courgettes

The virus, identified in the South of France, does not pose a risk to human health

22 October 2020
Melons in a basket. Virus for melon, cucumber, courgette plants found in FranceThe ministry of agriculture is taking steps to stamp out the virus in France
By Joanna York

A virus that attacks melons, cucumbers and courgettes has been identified in the south of France, the ministry for agriculture announced yesterday (October 21).

The virus, known as Tomato Leaf Curl New Delhi Virus (ToLCNDV), has been identified on courgette leaves in one plot in Occitanie and three in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

The infected vegetables were found in production and seed selling establishments, but the plots concerned were not intended to be used for the production of commercial seeds. 

‘No risk’ to human health 

The ministry confirmed that the virus poses “no risk to human health”.

Measures have been taken to halt the spread of the virus through tools such as scissors and secateurs, and by the aleurode Bemisia tabaci – a small, white fly that can transport it from plant to plant. 

Infected plants will be destroyed on the plots in which they are growing, to try and stamp out the virus.

An investigation is underway to determine the source of the infections and extra surveillance measures will be put in place in the countryside, the ministry said. 

 

Can damage and even destroy fruits

Symptoms of ToLCNDV include yellow mosaic patterns forming, leaf curling, vein swelling, plant stunting and even the complete suppression of fruit production. On melons, cucumbers and courgettes it can cause skin roughness and longitudinal cracking. 

The virus is present in European countries including Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece, but has not previously been seen in France.

In India, it frequently affects tomato plants. 

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