Developing epidemiological preparedness for a plant disease invasion: modelling citrus huánglóngbìng in the European Union

Read the full article See related articles

Listed in

This article is not in any list yet, why not save it to one of your lists.
Log in to save this article


Huánglóngbíng (HLB; citrus greening) is the most damaging disease of citrus worldwide. While citrus production in the USA and Brazil have been affected for decades, HLB has not been detected in the European Union (EU). However, psyllid vectors have already invaded and spread in Portugal and Spain, and in 2023 the psyllid species known to vector HLB in the Americas was first reported within the EU. We develop a landscape-scale, epidemiological model, accounting for heterogeneous citrus cultivation and vector dispersal, as well as climate and disease management. We use our model to predict HLB dynamics following introduction into high-density citrus areas in Spain, assessing detection and control strategies. Even with significant visual surveillance, we predict any epidemic will be widespread on first detection, with eradication unlikely. Introducing increased inspection and roguing following first detection, particularly if coupled with intensive insecticide use, could potentially sustain citrus production for some time. However, this may require chemical application rates that are not permissible in the EU. Disease management strategies targeting asymptomatic infection will likely lead to more successful outcomes. Our work highlights modelling as a key component of developing epidemiological preparedness for a pathogen invasion that is, at least somewhat, predictable in advance.

Article activity feed