Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Virus Res. 2011 Aug;159(2):161-70. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2011.04.018. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

Comparing the regional epidemiology of the cassava mosaic and cassava brown streak virus pandemics in Africa.

Author information

  • 1IITA-Tanzania, P.O. Box 34441, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


The rapid geographical expansion of the cassava mosaic disease (CMD) pandemic, caused by cassava mosaic geminiviruses, has devastated cassava crops in 12 countries of East and Central Africa since the late 1980s. Region-level surveys have revealed a continuing pattern of annual spread westward and southward along a contiguous 'front'. More recently, outbreaks of cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) were reported from Uganda and other parts of East Africa that had been hitherto unaffected by the disease. Recent survey data reveal several significant contrasts between the regional epidemiology of these two pandemics: (i) severe CMD radiates out from an initial centre of origin, whilst CBSD seems to be spreading from independent 'hot-spots'; (ii) the severe CMD pandemic has arisen from recombination and synergy between virus species, whilst the CBSD pandemic seems to be a 'new encounter' situation between host and pathogen; (iii) CMD pandemic spread has been tightly linked with the appearance of super-abundant Bemisia tabaci whitefly vector populations, in contrast to CBSD, where outbreaks have occurred 3-12 years after whitefly population increases; (iv) the CMGs causing CMD are transmitted in a persistent manner, whilst the two cassava brown streak viruses appear to be semi-persistently transmitted; and (v) different patterns of symptom expression mean that phytosanitary measures could be implemented easily for CMD but have limited effectiveness, whereas similar measures are difficult to apply for CBSD but are potentially very effective. An important similarity between the pandemics is that the viruses occurring in pandemic-affected areas are also found elsewhere, indicating that contrary to earlier published conclusions, the viruses per se are unlikely to be the key factors driving the two pandemics. A diagrammatic representation illustrates the temporal relationship between B. tabaci abundance and changing incidences of both CMD and CBSD in the Great Lakes region. This emphasizes the pivotal role played by the vector in both pandemics and the urgent need to identify effective and sustainable strategies for controlling whiteflies on cassava.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk