SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor declared a state of emergency Tuesday and ordered the release of $2 million to help agriculture officials fight a disease that has attacked citrus trees in the U.S. territory.
Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said citrus greening has affected a large swath of the island’s citrus crop, located primarily in the central region. The island produces citrus including oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits.
Officials say the insect carrying the disease was spotted in Puerto Rico in 2001, but that actual signs of the disease were not discovered until 2009.
The disease causes trees to produce green, disfigured and bitter fruits. Once a tree is infected, it dies in a couple years and cannot be saved.
The disease has caused extensive damage in Florida as well.