Maize streak virus (MSV)

Virus disease spread by leafhoppers

Nature of damage

  • Yield loss is caused by plant stunting and the termination of ear formulation, development and grain filling in infected plants.
  • With severe infection, plants can die prematurely.


  • Early disease symptoms begin within a week after infection and consist of very small, round, scattered spots in the youngest leaves.
  • The number of spots increases with plant growth; they enlarge parallel to the leaf veins.
  • Fully elongated leaves develop a chlorosis with broken yellow streaks along the veins, contrasting with the dark green color of normal foliage.

Factors favoring development

  • Many cereal crops and wild grasses serve as reservoirs of the virus and the vectors.
  • Outbreaks of maize streak have been associated with drought and irregular rain in west Africa.
  • As maize streak is vector transmitted, disease outbreaks are dependent on favorable conditions for Cicadulina species.

Geographic distribution

  • Maize streak is predominantly a disease of maize in Africa although it has also been reported from south and south-east Asia.

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