First outbreaks of fire blight in Slovenia.
Slovenia is one of the latest European countries to have reported fire blight. Laboratory tests are included in the systematic survey coordinated by the Phytosanitary Administration of the Republic of Slovenia since 1998. The first sporadic outbreaks of fire blight in 2001 and 2002 were followed by strict measures and no further symptoms or positive samples were found during those years. A larger outbreak took place in 2003 when the weather conditions were particularly favourable for development of the disease. The areas around the foci of infection from 2001 and 2002 were the first found to be infected, followed by foci in other areas. Up to November 2003, some 441 samples showing more or less typical fire blight symptoms were tested, and 44.2% were found to be positive for Erwinia amylovora. The largest proportion of positive samples was found from Cotoneaster and Cydonia oblonga, with 61.3% and 59.2%, respectively; for pear (Pyrus communis) and apple (Malus domestica [Malus pumila]) the proportions were 41.8 and 51.6%, respectively. The proportion of positive samples was low for host plants grown in the wild. Erwinia amylovora is present in some areas of Slovenia at low levels and is subject to official control. Up to the end of 2003, major fruit producing areas in the eastern parts were not affected.