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Coffee rust (Hemileia vastarix) is a fungus which attacks the leaves of coffee trees, potentially resulting in the defoliation of the tree and its eventual death. First identified in 1869, this disease would come to wipe out coffee crops in several countries in a short period of time. While coffee rust was first discovered in South East Asia, it has since spread around the world to become a major factor in coffee agriculture. Its rise has lead to the more widespread cultivation of more disease-resistant varieties of coffee trees.