Like people, plants can be victims of viruses and can be killed by bacteria and fungi, report UTMB’s Norbert Herzog and David Niesel in this week’s installment of Medical Discovery News. “It happened in Ireland in the 1840s when a water mold caused the Irish potato famine. One million people died and even more emigrated to countries like the United States, which changed our history and culture. Now an epidemic of a plant virus may do as much damage, if not more. It’s called the ‘brown streak virus’ and infects the Cassava plant. You may know the crop as yucca, manioc or tapioca. And it feeds 800 million people across Africa, South America and Asia. … African farmers are learning to recognize diseased crops and to burn them. Ultimately, either a strain of Cassava resistant to this virus or a new farming technique will have to be developed to break the infectious cycle.” MDN airs locally at 10 a.m. every Saturday on KUHF-FM.