Horizon Scanning for Plant Health: report on 2017-2020 activities.
To support the new European Union (EU) Plant Health law, the European Commission (EC) DG SANTE requested EFSA in December 2016 to carry out a horizon scanning exercise in order to identify new plant health threats for the EU. To address this request, EFSA has extended in collaboration with the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy, the monitoring system based on the automatic public health surveillance platform MEDISYS, scanning more than 12,000 sources in 72 languages from 196 countries, covering all world's regions. So far, 1,148 plant pests (pests regulated in the EU, pests listed by EPPO and new plant pests) have been daily monitored in media and scientific literature. The results are presented monthly to EC and Member States and published in monthly Media and Scientific Newsletters. In the period January 2017-March 2020, 60,480 news items on 494 pests were automatically selected by MEDISYS from 3841 sources in 52 languages from 173 countries. 85% of the media articles concerned regulated pests in the EU. Xylella fastidiosa is the most popular pest, with 26% of media items. Time series of articles on pests and pest's stories included in the newsletters illustrate the media relevance of various plant health issues (pest outbreaks or findings, pest impacts or control measures). In the same period, 11,365 scientific articles on 573 pests were automatically selected from 348 sources. Articles were in 14 languages, 90% of them in English. 6% of the papers focused on Spodoptera frugiperda, the most reported pest following its invasion of Africa in 2017 and its rapid spread in other world regions. Pests not listed in scientific literature represent a larger group than in media, showing the interest of literature monitoring to identify new plant health risks. Future activities will focus on the further platform deployment for scientific literature monitoring.