Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus is a plant virus that can be found worldwide and is known to infect more than 600 species of plants. Symptoms of infection range from spotting, wilting, or stunting to the appearance of dark lesions on some plants. This photograph shows an infected peanut plant with the stunting symptom. Peanut growers often refer to the disease as a "cave-in."
Tomato spotted wilt virus is a Tospovirus. Although it is classified in the virus family, Bunyaviridae, which includes several animal viruses such as the Hanta Virus, plant viruses do not infect human beings. TSWV is transmitted by insects called thrips. The thrips acquire the virus during the larval feeding stages and later become transmitters of the virus as adults. More information about TSWV in peanuts can be found at The Spotted Wilt Eradication Action Team's (SWEAT) website, http://sacs.cpes.peachnet.edu/spotwilt/