The health care industry also has a dispersed structure. Individual physicians represent a highly fragmented “industry”. In times of a health care crisis a central authority, often the Centers for Disease Control, takes charge and provides national, or even international, leadership. The authority takes on a highly focused, high urgency tactical and strategic role and helps to coordinate initiatives already underway at state and local levels. Since huanglongbing (HLB) is an international problem, and without question of great relevance to the Americas and US, a strike-force like structure may be helpful to coordinate activities, maximize resource impact, and to set research direction, priorities, and review progress toward providing a sustained solution to HLB and other technical challenges posed to the citrus industry. Experience in health care may provide guidance to the citrus industry under the concept of best practices. The intent of a best practices approach is to observe efforts within and between industries in order to identify those practices that produce improved results. Clinical researchers closely track results of trials of a rigorously defined new treatment protocol, trials that often include direct comparison against the current treatment of choice. Results are offered to the medical community for critical consideration. When the data convincingly demonstrate the superiority of a new protocol, the new protocol is expected to replace the old and become the treatment of choice. In the case of HLB, the identification of best practices offers relatively near-term benefits. Practices elsewhere that are documented to produce a better result in some aspect of crop management can be adapted and applied to Florida crops fairly quickly. An important byproduct of best practices documentation is its ability to influence and shape public policy relevant to the citrus industry. For instance, politically contentious environment management techniques (e.g., mandated destruction of diseased trees and abandoned orchards) used elsewhere with success can lend graphic support for similar practices in Florida.
It is generally agreed that a concerted effort must be made to reduce the impact of HLB in the near- and intermediate-term, and there is general acceptance of three parts to current HLB mitigation efforts (Brlansky et al., 2009), as discussed in previous chapters: use only nursery stock that is free of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), detect and remove infected trees, and manage the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) vector.
The Citrus Health Response Program developed protocols for production of disease-free trees. As of January, 2008, all citrus nursery trees in Florida are required to be produced in screened enclosures from pathogen-free budwood and rootstock seed. These procedures have been highly effective in eliminating the spread of HLB by commercial nursery stock. Movement of the disease with ornamental plants such as Murraya has also been greatly reduced. The CLas-free tree program must be counted as an implementation success.
Identification and removal of diseased trees is absolutely essential in any program of HLB mitigation, but, especially in the northern and central areas where incidence until very recently has been low, the practice has not been fully implemented, as it should be. The need to remove