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Unusually severe symptoms are a characteristic of the current epidemic of mosaic virus disease of cassava in Uganda

Published by:
Publication date
Number of Pages
Type of Publication:
Articles & Journals
Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
Health & Diseases
Type of Risk:
Biological & environmental
Gibson, R.W.; Legg, J.P.; Otim-Nape, G.W.
Namulonge Agricultural and Animal Research Institute

Mosaic disease (MD) is more severe in cassava plants infected within the area of the current epidemic in northern and central Uganda than to the south of the affected area. This difference in severity was recorded within a single cultivar as well as amongst the mixtures of cultivars found commonly in farmers’ fields. An increase in severity also occurred as the epidemic passed through localities. Varietal or agroecological factors coincident with the area of the epidemic are therefore unlikely to cause the increased severity. The severe disease could also be graft and cutting transmitted and could super-infect mildly diseased plants. Both mildly and severely diseased plants gave positive reactions in ELISA tests to antisera prepared against African cassava mosaic virus (ACMV) and an unusually severe form of ACMV or a closely related geminivirus is likely to be the cause of the severe mosaic disease. The epidemic also involves increased populations of the whitefly vector of ACMV, Bemisia tabaci, and possible hypotheses are presented as to how these phenomena may be related.