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Qld banana disease test results weeks away

AAP logoAAP 5/10/2016

Samples taken from banana plants on a north Queensland farm don't appear to indicate an outbreak of Panama disease.

However authorities say it will take three more weeks before an outbreak can be definitively ruled out.

The samples were taken from a property in Tully last month after the owner raised concerns with authorities.

Another Tully property has been under quarantine since March after Panama tropical race 4 (TR4) was found.

The TR4 strain is difficult to detect and a potentially serious threat to the Australian Cavendish banana industry.

Panama TR4 program leader Rebecca Sapuppo said while the symptoms in the latest samples were not strongly consistent with the disease, diagnostic testing had to be completed to get a conclusive result.

"We are testing these samples to exclude the disease and to provide the property owners and the banana industry with confidence that Panama disease tropical race 4 is not present," she said.

The disease is spread through root-to-root contact and through soil, water and contaminated equipment.

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