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France reports first case of fatal olive tree bacteria


France's agriculture ministry said Friday that it had detected its first cases of a bacterium that has been devastating olive trees in Italy and elsewhere in the Mediterranean basin.

Two decorative olive trees in southern France, one in Antibes and the other in Menton, were found to be infected with Xylella fastidiosa.

Although the disease has been found on other plants in southern France and on the island of Corsica starting in 2015, it was the first time olive trees had been impacted by a threat that has no known cure, the ministry said.

It said the two trees would be destroyed in the coming days, and all other plants particularly vulnerable to the bacterium within a five-kilometre (three-mile) radius will be pulled up as well to try to prevent the bacterium's spread.

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