Narrator: This is Science Today. A disease that's killed many thousands of trees on the West Coast can potentially move east. Dr. David Rizzo, a plant pathologist at the University of California, Davis, says sudden oak death was first discovered in California in 1995. It since killed tens of thousands of coastal oak varieties and Rizzo says there's evidence that the same fungus responsible for sudden oak death was also found in Europe on rhododendrons as early as 1993.
Rizzo: We are now collaborating with colleagues in Europe to compare side by side the fungus from California and the fungus from Europe to definitively say they are the same thing. At this stage of the game, the evidence suggests that they are the same thing.
Narrator: This suggests the disease could spread - especially by hiking shoes or car tires that are carrying contaminated soil.
Rizzo: So if somebody is doing off road driving and getting mud in the tires, before they head to an area that does not have the disease, they should probably run their car through a car wash to get the mud off their tires.
Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.