(Harrisburg) -- The plum pox virus is now classified as eradicated in Pennsylvania.
State Agriculture Secretary George Greig says the milestone ``officially closes the books'' on the battle against the virus after three years of monitoring.
The state was declared free of the plum pox virus in October 2009. Testing last summer included more than 41,000 leaf samples, largely from orchards in the region that includes Carlisle, Gettysburg, York and Lancaster.
The virus can harm fruit-bearing and ornamental varieties of almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum stone fruit trees.
It was found in Adams County peach trees in 1999 and threatened to devastate the region's stone fruit industry if it spread.
Efforts to halt plum pox included destruction of nearly 1,700 acres of orchard trees in several midstate counties.
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