Scope of New Disease Reports

New Disease Reports are intended to encourage early reporting of new and significant plant disease situations including:

  • First records for a country for known plant pathogens. In some cases, reports from different geographical locations within the same country will be considered. However in these cases, there MUST be a demonstration that the report is significant in terms of its distribution or impact (see below).
  • New naturally-infected hosts for known plant pathogens.
  • New races for known plant pathogens with an accepted race structure.
  • New symptoms/damage for known plant pathogens that are significantly different from the norm.
  • New disease symptoms for as yet undescribed or partly-described plant pathogens provided these findings report a significant outbreak (see below).
  • Reports that provide information of phytosanitary or regulatory interest such as a newly identified reservoir of a pathogen where there is no immediate impact.

Authors are encouraged to provide evidence that the reported pathogen causes the observed disease symptoms (such evidence might include association of the pathogen with diseased but not healthy plants for obligate pathogens, or the fulfilment of Koch's postulates in the case of culturable pathogens). The need for Koch's postulates is not an absolute requirement but is likely to be required when reporting new hosts or new disease symptoms. However, editors reserve the right to require evidence of pathogenicity before publication, e.g. when it is suspected a saprophyte rather than a pathogen has been reported. Pathogenicity tests should be done under realistic conditions, i.e. using conidia or other infective propagules (where available) rather than mycelial plugs.

New Disease Reports does NOT include:

  • Interception reports (pathogens intercepted on newly-imported plants or parts of plants - see definitions below).
  • Reports with the primary objective of publishing formal descriptions of, or proposals for, new pathogens, rather than reporting significant new disease observations.
  • 'Sequencing' reports of minor variants of viruses and other pathogens where there is no added value in terms of significance.
  • Reports of 'pests', i.e. non-pathogens (symptoms & damage caused by animal pests, including arthropods and weeds, invasive plants or parasitic plants).
  • New experimental hosts (e.g. hosts identified by artificial inoculation).

A Note on Significance of Distribution or Impact

In addition to being novel and original (see below), a New Disease Report MUST demonstrate a genuine degree of significance in terms of pathological or regulatory impact. Factors that should be considered when defining significance include:

  • The area of crop/number of plants affected. Hence a finding on an individual plant would be deemed much less significant than findings across a whole region.
  • The degree of damage caused; for this reason it is preferable that the incidence and/or severity of the outbreak is reported.
  • The known host range of the pathogen. For polyphagous pathogens with very broad host ranges e.g. Alternaria alternata, there must be factors that make the finding significant. This is particularly true where the pathogen has already been recorded in a particular country, but simply on different hosts. If the report merely extends the host range to a new member of a family already widely affected (e.g. tomato rather than eggplant), it is unlikely to be accepted.
  • Reports of ubiquitous pathogens on a new host will not be accepted for the same reason unless significant impact is genuinely demonstrated.
  • The impact of the disease on the plant affected, e.g. economic impact. For this reason findings on weed hosts must demonstrate real significance, for example by demonstrating that there is an important reservoir of a pathogen or demonstrating potential for biological control.

Definitions of "outbreaks" and "interceptions"

In submitting Reports for publication it is important to remember to distinguish between "interceptions" and "outbreaks". For the purposes of New Disease Reports only "outbreaks" are publishable, whereas "interceptions" are not, and the following definitions apply:

"Outbreak" = A multiplying population of a plant pathogen in a country or area where it is not considered to be generally present which is expected to survive for the foreseeable future.

"Interception" = The detection of a plant pathogen in a consignment which is being moved or has recently been moved and which remains confined to the consignment.

The importance of distinguishing between the two situations is to ensure that New Disease Reports are true records of the status of a pathogen for the country or area where the record is made and not simply related to an import. However, editorial discretion may be used in favour of accepting reports of significant outbreaks that have been eradicated.

Further considerations – novelty and originality

  • New Disease Reports are intended to stand alone. They are not intended as interim reports prior to publication of a full paper in production.
  • New Disease Reports must not duplicate the content of published abstracts, reports in Newsletters, etc., or such reports being considered or already accepted for publication elsewhere. At the discretion of the editors, NDR may accept papers as novel or original where previous reporting has not provided full details of the pathogen identification or other aspects of the disease occurrence. However, in these cases, ALL previous reports whether by the same authors or different authors must be cited and the deficiencies of the earlier reports must be explained. This includes PhD theses and other academic works that have been disseminated in print or on the Internet.
  • Only papers written in English will be accepted.
  • Sequences deposited in public databases – please see entry on 'Submission' page.

Authors are advised to have their Reports critically reviewed by colleagues prior to submission and to consult a proficient speaker of English as appropriate. Papers that lack clarity or contain significant ambiguity because of poor English may be withheld from detailed review and either returned to authors for rewriting or rejected outright. It is not considered the function of the Editorial Board to rewrite submissions in clear English.