Moko Disease in Jamaica

Moko Disease is caused by a bacterium, Ralstonia (Pseudomonas) solanacearum (Race 2) which had evolved from a bacterial pathogen of wildHeliconia species. The disease kills the plant, cannot be cured by any chemical and is spread via seedlings, plant tissues, in soil, on tools and by insects. Outbreak was first discovered in Jamaica in 2004 in four parishes (in St. James, St. Mary, St. Thomas and Portland). It had been successfully eliminated from all except some small holdings in specific locations in the parish of St. James. The disease also affects farms in other regional countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The number of Moko disease cases identified to date indicated that average incidence remained at 8 cases per year over the six years with only average of 0.5% of mats infected in affected farms only.  Incidence below 5% of mats infected on a national level was considered to be successful control. On-going action to control results in 2010 resulted in up to  20% of the plants being lethally injected on occasions, which includes  buffer zones of healthy plants on affected farms. A programme to curtail spread, reduce incidence or maintain low disease levels include:

1. Monthly surveillances and collection of samples of all suspected plant tissues are conducted by the Research Field Officers.

2. Suspected samples are tested in the laboratory using diagnostic protocols

3. Treatment of all plants diagnosed as positive in addition to those in the five metre radius (buffer zone) around each infected plant.

4. Reporting positive cases of this notifiable disease to the local authorities

5. Training of farmers and engaging community outreach





Click to view pamphlet on Moko Disease


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10 South Ave
Kingston Gardens
Kingston 4, Jamaica
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(876) 922-4327

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