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Occurrence - Lethal yellowing (LY) may have invaded Key West, Florida, as early as the 1930s, but was not diagnosed until the 1950s. At least two outbreaks occurred in the Florida Keys in the 1950s and 60s (Martinez & Roberts, 1967) but the disease did not reach the mainland at that time. It killed about 75% of the coconut palms on Key West before the epidemic subsided about 1965. LY appeared on Key Largo in 1969 and on the Florida mainland in Miami in 1971 (Seymour et al, 1972). Oxytetracycline treatment gave remission (McCoy, 1972), MLO were visualised (Parthasarathy & Fisher, 1973; Parthasarathy, 1974) and Myndus crudus vector status was established (Tsai, 1977).
Spread - By 1973 LY had spread northward along the east coast to Palm Beach county. The diversity of ornamental palms was greater in the urban areas of southern Florida than in most Caribbean countries, and it soon became evident that LY affected many palm species additional to coconut. In 1980 LY was diagnosed from date palm in Texas (McCoy et al, 1980). By 1983, the epidemic had destroyed an estimated 100, 000 coconut palms and thousands of palms of other species. The epidemic on the southeast coast began to wane in the mid-1980s. In the late 1980s, LY appeared on the southwestern coast of Florida on Estero Island ( near Fort Myers) and remains highly active, killing many of the older coconut palms and palms of other species.
Currently active areas - Coconut palms with LY symptoms can still be seen a few minutes drive away from Miami airport. The disease persists in the area, but attacks only an occasional isolated palm or group of palms. Probably an important factor in today's low incidence of LY is the preponderance of LY- resistant palms in the landscape but it seems that susceptible (Atlantic Tall, Florida Tall, Jamaica Tall) planting material is still available.
Suspected new outbreaks - specify whether confirmed or unconfirmed (reference)
Other palm/plant hosts
New hosts, new vectors, new strains or suspected loss of resistance - confirmed or unconfirmed
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