The bacterium, which does not represent a danger to humans, is harmful to plants which it can quickly contaminate, causing them to dry out or even die, recalled the Gard prefecture.

The presence of this bacterium was detected for the first time in this department of southern France, a year after its detection in Aude, thanks to the surveillance deployed by the regional services of the Ministry of Agriculture and sovereignty. eating.

More than 8,400 plant samples were thus tested by the authorities between September 2020 and May 2022 and currently the safety zone – within a perimeter of 2.5 km around the contaminated plant – concerns four municipalities in the department.

A 2020 European regulation aimed at preventing the proliferation of this bacterium provides for the uprooting and destruction of contaminated plants and nearby sensitive plants, recalls the Gard prefecture.

Xylella fastidiosa, which has wreaked havoc on olive trees in Italy’s Puglia region, was first spotted in France in 2015.

It is also present on part of the Mediterranean coast, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region near Menton, between Nice and Fréjus and in Toulon, as well as in Corsica.

Xylella fastidiosa attacks more than 200 plant species but has never been detected on a vine, specifies the prefecture.

More than 70 species of insects can carry it and it does not always have the same impact depending on the strain, the plant and the ecosystem concerned, but it can cause the death of the plants it touches. To date, there is no curative treatment for the bacteria.

All agricultural production sectors are exposed to a risk of contamination (olive trees, fruit trees, citrus fruits, alfalfa, ornamental species, aromatic plants). The bacterium also attaches itself to uncultivated plants or species endemic to certain regions.

The Regional Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Forestry (Draaf) in Occitanie has set up an online reporting form accessible to all, in case of doubt about the contagion of a plant.