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Canadian Food Inspection Agency warns of spotted lanternfly pest nears border

Canadian Food Inspection Agency is asking Canadians to keep an eye out for an invasive bug that could spell disaster for the country’s wineries and fruit growers.The spotted lanternfly is a pest native to China that has been making inroads in the United States since 2014.Thus far, the small grey-and-red insect with spotted wings has not been found alive in Canada. Avian flu outbreaks confirmed on B.C., Alberta farms after brief pause in cases But in early September, hundreds of adults were found in a residential area in Buffalo, N.Y., just 45 km away from the Canadian border.The reports set off alarms at the CFIA, which in a tweet last week asked Canadians to report any sightings of the pest on this side of the border “immediately.”The insect feeds on sap, mainly from fruit trees, and can cause serious harm to orchards and vineyards.“We’re becoming more and more concerned about the proximity to Canada, and particularly our grape-growing industries, because this is a pest that has had significant impacts on the grape and fruit industry in the United States,” said Diana Mooij, a specialist in the invasive alien species program within the CFIA.The first North American sighting of the pest was in Pennsylvania in 2014, and since then, a tracking program monitored by Cornell University has documented the pest in 14 U.S.

states.Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware have the most sightings, along with areas in and around New York City. It has been found as far east as Rhode Island, as far south as North Carolina and as far west as Indiana.The Buffalo sightings were the first to occur near the Canadian border.Mooij says dead adults have been found on trucks in Canada.

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In epidemiology, an outbreak is a sudden increase in occurrences of a disease in a particular time and place. It may affect a small and localized group or impact upon thousands of people across an entire continent. Four linked cases of a rare infectious disease may be sufficient to constitute an outbreak. Outbreaks include epidemics, which term is normally only used for infectious diseases, as well as diseases with an environmental origin, such as a water or foodborne disease. They may affect a region in a country or a group of countries. Pandemics are near-global disease outbreaks when multiple countries across the world are infected.

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