On July 7, 2006, Plum pox virus (PPV) was confirmed in survey samples from New York State. This is the first time the disease has been found at any location in the United States outside of Pennsylvania. Plum pox virus, a potyvirus, is the cause of a serious disease affecting plums, peaches, nectarines, and apricots.
The infected orchard in New York is a 1-acre block of plums, located in Niagara County. The orchard has been surveyed annually since 2000, with no previous evidence of PPV. Based on testing carried out by Cornell University at Ithaca, New York, and confirmed by the APHIS laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, only 2 of the 108 trees in the block were positive for PPV. Testing and confirmation involved both ELISA and PCR methods. On July 14, 2006, the PPV strain was confirmed by the APHIS laboratory to be the D strain, which is also present in Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. The D strain is not seedborne and is not known to affect commercial or wild cherry species.
A unified incident command post has been established in New York, and APHIS is currently working with the State in conducting detection and delimiting surveys to determine the scope of the situation. Based on these results APHIS and the State will be able to determine what regulatory and control measures may be necessary. Since the D strain is not seedborne and not spread through fruit movement, any regulatory measures established would only affect the movement of plant material other than fruit.