The quarantine bacterial disease Xylella fastidiosa has been discovered for the first time in Belgium, at a wholesale company in the West Flanders province.
During a routine check the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food chain noticed suspicious symptoms in a batch of olive trees. Last week it turned out to be Xylella fastidiosa, the Belgian ornamental and greenery association AVBS reports.
The olive trees were imported from Spain. The agency has already destroyed the infected trees in accordance with EU regulations. Belgium notifies it as a finding, not as an outbreak. So no (infected) vectors must be found around the infected trees. Further research has started, to confirm that all traces have indeed been destroyed.
According to the AVBS, the Spanish authorities have investigated the Spanish supplier of the infected olive trees. The Belgian wholesale company itself decided to destroy all their olive trees immediately.
Dehydration symptoms: ’Big chance caused by drought’
All Belgian companies that have imported olive trees from countries where Xylella has been found, and also show signs of dehydration, are adviced to report those trees for further investigation. According to the AVBS, there is a big chance that those symptoms were caused by the dry summer, not by Xylella.
Pictures: Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food chain