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Inland area quarantine announced to stop citrus disease spread

By in Press Enterprise on August 29, 2017

By Gail Wesson

A 94-square-mile quarantine area has been announced in portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties in an attempt to stop the threat of the citrus greening disease.

The state Department of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the quarantine Monday, Aug. 28, which will prohibit movement of all citrus nursery stock out of the area while maintaining existing provisions allowing movement of commercially cleaned and packed citrus fruit, according to a news release.

Any fruit not commercially processed, including residential citrus, must not be removed from the property on which it is grown, although it may be processed and/or consumed on the premises.

The quarantine area is generally bordered by Interstate 10 from Fontana to Colton, east to Box Springs Mountain Reserve between Riverside and Moreno Valley, on the west to Riverside Municipal Airport and on the south to East Alessandro Boulevard in Riverside.

The quarantine was foreshadowed in a community meeting earlier this month with agriculture and citrus experts in Riverside, about the effort to protect local trees and the state’s $3.3 billion citrus industry.

A single tree near the interchange of the 60, 91 and 215 freeways in Riverside, tested positive for the disease in late July. The tree was identified when several Asian citrus psyllids in the area tested positive for the bacteria that causes citrus greening. The tree has been removed.

The disease, also called Huanglongbing, is a bacterial disease that attacks the vascular system of plants, and does not pose a threat to humans or animals.

Once a tree is infected, there is no cure, so officials are using a strategy of trying to control the spread of psyllids that may carry the disease and encouraging researchers’ work to find a cure.

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