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Banana freckle disease spreads to 12 new locations across Northern Territory

The Northern Territory government has confirmed multiple outbreaks of the fungal disease known as banana freckle. After initially being found on a single property near Rum Jungle in May, the government today identified 12 new sites of infection at Fly Creek, Batchelor, Marrakai and the Tiwi Islands.

The disease was detected last month on the government's own Coastal Plains Research Farm and has also been confirmed on one commercial farm. The total number of infected properties has grown to 29.

NT chief plant health officer Anne Walters said government and industry were ready to announce an eradication plan for the disease, but that had now been put on hold following widespread detections.

"I don't think anything has gone wrong … it is obviously widespread but what seems to be the case is that it's still quite localised in those areas we've found it," she said. "The pattern is not clear on how this disease is spreading, so obviously tracing will be a critical component in the next stage of the program."


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