Pest categorisation of Beet curly top virus (non-EU isolates)

Beet curly top virus, BCTV, sugar beet, Circulifer tenellus, pest categorisation
First published in the EFSA Journal
11 October 2017
15 September 2017
Scientific Opinion

The EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of non-EU isolates of Beet curly top virus (BCTV) for the European Union territory. The virus causes severe diseases in beet, tomatoes and pepper crops, occurs predominantly in warm and dry zones and is reported from many countries outside the EU in particular from western USA and Mexico. New data from complete virus genomes make BCTV a well characterised virus species of which currently 11 strains are known and for which diagnostic methods are available. BCTV has a very broad host range of more than 300 species some of which may remain symptomless. Aside from vegetative propagation of infected plants, the only mode of BCTV transmission and spread is by the leafhopper Circulifer tenellus which efficiently transmits the virus in a persistent mode and which is present in several southern EU Member States. No current reports of BCTV presence in the EU exist and because of doubts about the accuracy of older reports, BCTV likely is absent from the EU territory. BCTV can enter into the EU with viruliferous insects and with imports of plants not subject to specific EU regulation. Because both the virus and its vector have a wide host range, BCTV is expected to establish and spread in the Member States where its vector is present and to cause severe diseases in sugar beet and tomato as well as in other crops. Overall, BCTV non-EU isolates meet all the criteria evaluated by EFSA to qualify as a Union quarantine pest and do not meet the criterion of presence in the EU to qualify as a Union regulated non-quarantine pest (RNQP). The main uncertainties concern (1) the presence of BCTV in the EU, (2) the distribution of C. tenellus and (3) the main commodities for virus entry.

Panel members at the time of adoption
Claude Bragard, David Caffier, Thierry Candresse, Elisavet Chatzivassiliou, Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz, Gianni Gilioli, Jean-Claude Gregoire, Josep Anton Jaques Miret, Michael Jeger, Alan MacLeod, Maria Navajas Navarro, Björn Niere, Stephen Parnell, Roel Potting, Trond Rafoss, Vittorio Rossi, Gregor Urek, Ariena Van Bruggen, Wopke Van der Werf, Jonathan West and Stephan Winter.
Panel on Plant Health
alpha [at]
EFSA Journal 2017;15(10):4998
Question Number
On request from
European Commission