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Home Grown: Expert discovers common virus in Yuma crops

CBS 13'S April Hettinger investigates the cause of the disease

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A common virus that can be found in more 600 species of plants has now infected Yuma crops, and mainly lettuce.

Once a crop has impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV), they cannot be harvested and must be destroyed.

It is mainly spread through insects.

It has never been a problem before but is now infesting crops in Yuma, Wellton, Tacna and the Gila Valley.

Dr. Bindu Poudel-Ward tells us what to look out for and how it is visible on lettuce.

"It does look like chemical burn or similar to when the tractor spills some oil in the plant," Dr. Poudel-Ward explained. "It looks like that, and most of the time it's not uniform it's random and scattered through the field."

Just because one plant has the virus doesn't mean the enitre field needs to be thrown away.

The first case happened in early March, and now there are more than 40 fields that have been infected.

Health / Yuma County
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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. After a short 3 ½ years, she earned bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with minors in Journalism and Spanish but gained memories and friendships she will always remember.

She began her broadcast journalism career through NAZ Today, northern Arizona’s local news station, by covering breaking news, building relationships with the community, learning to produce a newscast and anchoring live. Although she will miss her snowy mountain town, she is excited to further her broadcast career and take on the heat in a great city like Yuma.

She is looking forward to floating down at the Colorado River, riding dirt bikes at the sand dunes, and most importantly, serving the community through local news.

You can send any story ideas her way by emailing april.hettinger@kecytv.com.

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