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Source: Business Daily [summ., edited]
Kenya is on a high alert following the outbreak of a coconut disease along the Indian Ocean coast that has so far wiped out the crop in Mozambique and could threaten Kenya's palms. Kenya Plant and Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) has started a survey to establish if the deadly disease could have reached the country.
The undertaken disease monitoring and surveillance is aimed at stopping the spread if the disease is detected. Mitigation measures will include uprooting and burning affected trees.
Communicated by:
[A range of yellowing diseases of coconut and other palms caused by phytoplasmas are known. The pathogen of the lethal decline (LD) disease in Mozambique was classified in 2014 as the reference strain for a novel taxon, _Candidatus_ Phytoplasma palmicola (16SrXXII; see ProMED post 20140621.2556066 and link below; now named Nigerian coconut lethal decline group). The group also includes the pathogens of Cape St Paul wilt (CSPW) in Ghana, the "maladie de Kaincope" in Togo, Bogia wilt in Papua New Guinea, and Awka disease (lethal decline) in Nigeria. Strains from Mozambique have since been attributed to a subgroup A (16SrXXII-A), CSPW phytoplasma strains to a subgroup B (16SrXXII-B).

Lethal yellowing (LY) diseases described from, for example, the Caribbean and Latin America are caused by strains of _Ca._ P. palmae (16SrIV). The phytoplasmas causing Weligama wilt in Sri Lanka and Kerala wilt in India are as yet unclassified. Some of the pathogens may also affect herbaceous crops, such as banana or cassava (e.g., ProMED posts 20180207.5613931 and 20170713.5168553). Commercial control of these diseases relies on resistant varieties, but an unexplained breakdown of LY resistance of some widely used hybrids (ProMED post 20070522.1643) is causing great concern.

LD in Mozambique has been spreading in the coastal coconut belt where it has destroyed a large number of palms. Disease incidence and rate of symptom progression may vary in different areas; palms die over a period of time. Additional phytoplasmas have been identified in infected palms, but their contribution to the disease needs further clarification. Other palm species (such as oilpalm) may also be hosts of the pathogen(s). Some potential insect vectors have been identified. Quarantine restrictions are in place for the movement of coconut materials to protect areas still free from LD. Some success with replanting certain coconut varieties in LD-affected areas has been reported (ProMED post 20100910.3262).

Africa (overview):

Coconut LD symptoms, Mozambique: and

Information on Mozambique coconut LD:,,, and
Mozambique LD phytoplasma classification:
Review and diagnosis of palm phytoplasmas:
Phytoplasma 16SrXXII-A subgroup taxonomy:
Other phytoplasma taxonomy via:
Phytoplasma resource centre:
- Mod.DHA


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