Peppers and tomatoes are in the same plant family – solanaceae or more commonly known as the nightshade family – and can be susceptible to some of the same diseases. This is true of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV). The solanaceae family includes potatoes, eggplant, tobacco, petunia, tomatillo and deadly nightshade in addition to pepper and tomato.
This virus is spread by very small insects known as thrips. They acquire the virus as larvae when feeding on an infected plant and then transmit the disease when they fly to other susceptible plants as adults.
Initial symptoms are yellowing and distortion of the leaves. The leaves can also display yellow or brown circular ring spots. The severity of the virus can depend on the particular cultivar of pepper, its age and the environmental conditions in which the pepper is growing. Fruit can develop yellow, brown or ring spots as well.
If you think your pepper has TSWV, consult your local extension agent to confirm the diagnosis. But once infected, there is no treatment for the plants and they should be pulled up and disposed of in the trash to prevent other susceptible plants from becoming infected.
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