Of all plant virus diseases, Tobacco Mosaic, is the most resistant and highly infectious. And, the most common source of this disease is smoking tobacco. Gardeners contaminate their hands by smoking and then infect plants as they transplant, tie and prune. The virus enters through scratches or broken hairs on the plant.
In Colorado, this disease can attack tomato, pepper, eggplant and petunia. It can withstand heat, even alcohol and various germicides and it retains infectivity in a dried state for many years.
The best way to avoid this plant disease is to never smoke while working with the susceptible plants. Always wash your hands before and after handling plants.
© CSU/Denver County Extension Master Gardener 2010
888 E. Iliff Avenue, Denver, CO 80210
Date last revised: 01/05/2010