A five-mile quarantine prohibiting the movement of Valley citrus stock from an orange grove where the state’s first case of citrus greening disease was discovered earlier this month near San Juan, Texas, will remain in effect according to a panel of plant disease scientists representing the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).

The decision was made Friday, Jan. 27, after field inspectors reported a grapefruit tree in a grove across the road from the orange grove where the disease was first uncovered tested positive for the disease.

In a statement late Friday TDA officials said there is no change in the five-mile emergency quarantine zone. Under guidelines of the quarantine, plants that can host the disease and are within a five-mile radius of the infected tree cannot be moved from the quarantine area. The disease poses no threat to human health as it affects only the tree and not the fruit itself. Citrus fruit harvested within a quarantine area must be free of leaves, stems, plant debris and any Asian citrus psyllid prior to movement outside of the area.

Dr. Juan Anciso, a Texas AgriLife Extension Service citrus specialist in Weslaco, says early detection of the disease and an ongoing comprehensive multi-year psyllid control program in the Texas Valley gives local growers “cautious optimism” that the disease can be confined to the quarantine area.