Narrator: This is Science Today. Plant biologists are working hard to learn more about a fast spreading disease called sudden oak death syndrome, which has already affected tens of thousands of trees in California and has jumped to Oregon. Researchers, including Dr. David Rizzo of the University of California, Davis, fear it may be able to spread to the Midwest and east.
Rizzo: We don't have definitive answers on how the pathogen has moved from one tree to another, but we have evidence that the fungus can be found in the soil, therefore it may be moved within a stand by people, by animals. So those are areas where we're working now that we have preliminary evidence, but the definitive evidence we're still working on that.
Narrator: In the meantime, Rizzo says it would be wise for hikers, bikers and off-road drivers to wash their shoe soles and tires after possible exposure to contaminated soil.
Rizzo: So if somebody is 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.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.