Scientific Opinion on the pest categorisation of Erwinia amylovora (Burr.) Winsl. et al.
The European Commission requested the EFSA Panel on Plant Health to perform the pest categorisation for Erwinia amylovora, which is the causal agent of fire blight. E. amylovora is a plant pathogenic bacterium regulated by the Directive 2000/29/EC (Annexes II-A-II). E. amylovora is a single taxonomic entity. This organism can be accurately identified, based on a range of discriminative methods. Detection methods are available for symptomatic and asymptomatic plant material. E. amylovora ispresent in all EU Member States except Estonia, Finland and Malta, where host plants are not widely distributed or are rare. The host plants (mainly pear and apple) are cultivated throughout Europe where environmental conditions are conducive to disease development. Although no recent data are available on losses caused by E. amylovora in the EU, fire blight is considered to be the most destructive disease on pear and apple owing to the loss of trees. The analysis of past disease outbreaks previously reported in the EU highlights their considerable potential to have a severe impact on commercial horticulture, especially on apple, pear and quince, as well as on ornamentals and on nursery trade. The disease causes a range of symptoms on the aerial parts of plants, including the fruits, and E. amylovora often kills the trees and causes destructive outbreaks. Contaminated rootstocks, cuttings and grafted trees for transplanting, beehive transportation, rain and wind, are responsible for medium- and long-distance dissemination of the pathogen. Existing control is mainly based on prevention and exclusion. The use of chemical or biological products can prevent infection, and sanitation methods applied to infected plants can control the disease to a certain extent. No curative chemical control agents are available that eradicate E. amylovora in infected orchards.
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