There are serious concerns about the further spread of the bacterial disease caused by Xylella fastidiosa from southern Europe. The bacteria, which causes the dreaded olive quick decline syndrome in olive trees, has been encountered in the heel of Italy. Another strain of Xylella was found in the south of France: around Nice and on Corsica, where it has primarily affected the ornamental plant Polygala myrtifolia (myrtle-leaf milkwort).
All strains of Xylella are regulated in the EU and may affect different host plants depending on local circumstances and vectors present, although all strains have a very broad range of host plants which largely overlaps. An outbreak of Xylella in the Netherlands could have major economic consequences for the tree and perennial plant sector, herbaceous plants (including container- and pot plant sectors) and public green. Xylella is not harmful to humans or animals. The included factsheet provides available information regarding the quarantine organism Xylella fastiodiosa and how to prevent the introduction of this destructive bacteria.