PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – An invasive plant pathogen that causes the disease known as sudden oak death has been discovered at a botanical garden and private home in Lincoln City, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said. 

Now, the department of agriculture is developing a mitigation plan, and working to determine how far the pathogen has spread and if there’s a way to contain it. 

The pathogen, called Phytophthora ramorum, was confirmed for the first time in Oregon in 2001 in the forests outside Brookings in Curry County. Federal and state quarantines were established to prevent the spread of the pathogen in soil and infected plant material. 

However, it was later detected in Oregon wholesale nursery stock in 2003. Since then, it’s been detected in limited nursery sites. 

The invasive, fungal-like pathogen is known to cause sudden oak death, but can infect more than 100 different plant species, including several high-value ornamental plant species such as rhododendron, cherry laurel and viburnum. 

Symptoms of the pathogen on these plants include leaf spots and lesions along the twig or leaf mid-vein. Other plant pathogens cause similar symptoms, so the disease must be confirmed with laboratory testing. 

ODA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will survey in and around the neighborhood where officials detected the pathogen in Lincoln City. They hope the survey will help determine if the pathogen has spread beyond the affected properties and what type of treatment and eradication efforts are needed. 

Agriculture experts suspect the pathogen was introduced into Lincoln City when someone planted an infested plant from a nursery several years ago. 

The public can help slow the spread of the pathogen by buying healthy plants from reputable nurseries and by avoiding purchasing plants online. 

ODA also asks people who live, work or recreate in the quarantined area of Curry County to not remove plants or soil from the forest. Anyone in the area is asked to stay on established trails and respect trail closures. 

People who visit the area can also clean and disinfect all equipment used in the quarantined area, including vehicles, bikes, and pet paws, with a 10% bleach solution.