Maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND) is a result of a combination of two viruses, the maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMoV) and any of the cereal viruses in the Potyviridae group, like the sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV), wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) or maize dwarf mosaic virus (MDMV). The double infection of the two viruses gives rise to what is known as MLND, also referred to as corn lethal necrosis (CLN).
MLND is mainly spread by a vector, transmitting the disease from plant to plant and field to field. The most common vectors are maize thrips, rootworms and leaf beetles. MLND is caused by the co-infection of maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV) in addition to a number of viruses from the potyvirus family. This combination gives rise to the symptoms associated with MLND.