Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense blocks the vascular system of infected banana plants, causing them to wilt and die. Panama disease can spread between adjacent banana plants by root to root contact and by the movement of soil and water infected with fungal spores. Weevil borer insects are also known to carry the pathogen. Long distance spread of Panama disease occurs through the movement of infected planting material and soil, and can also be carried on contaminated tools, machinery, footwear and clothing.
All Australian states and territories have restrictions in place for known pathways for Panama disease tropical race 4. F. oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 is not considered technically feasible to eradicate.