Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease has continued to wreak havoc on maize production in East Africa since it was first reported in Kenya in 2011. Since then it has been reported in other eastern Africa countries.
The disease, caused by the combination of the Maize Chlorotic Mottle Virus (MCMV) and Sugarcane Mosaic Virus (SCMV), causes irreversible damage that kills maize plants leading to yield losses. MLN pathogens can be transmitted not only by insect vectors but also through contaminated seed.
Some developed countries have managed the disease through strategies that include combining tolerant varieties, crop rotation, and having maize free seasons to reduce the insect vector pressure that transmits the disease. However, in eastern Africa, the epidemic is aggravated by lack of MLN-resistant maize varieties and year-round cultivation of maize, allowing transmission via insect vectors, among others.