Citrus canker, which is entrenched in Florida's main citrus-producing region, has for the first time turned up in the northern part of the state.

Canker was first introduced to Florida in 1912 but was declared eradicated in 1933.

It reappeared in the Tampa area in 1986, and the state has been fighting it off and on ever since, according to a University of Florida Extension report.

Until now, it had remained confined to the central and south part of the state.

The latest infestation was in a Gulf Breeze suburb in the Tiger Point area of south Santa Rosa County in the Florida Panhandle.

The Florida Division of Plant Industry is currently surveying the area to determine whether the disease has spread to nearby citrus trees.

Although harmless to humans, the bacterial disease causes unsightly blemishes on citrus fruit, causing it to be unmarketable into fresh channels.

In severe cases, it can cause premature fruit drop and leaf drop, eventually weakening the tree.

Those living in the area who suspect their citrus trees may have the bacterial disease should call the Division of Plant Industry at 888-397-1517 before taking any action. This will help reduce the spread of the disease.

For more information on citrus canker, visit the University of Florida.