Rapid ohia death spreads to every district on Big Island

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Oct. 3, 2017 at 5:11 AM HST
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KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - The Big Island Invasive Species Committee states that rapid ohia death has been detected in North Kohala.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the discovery means the disease has spread to every district on Hawaii Island.

Trees with the disease were found Sept. 15 on a private ranch. Researchers collected 10 samples at the site, eight of which tested positive for Ceratocystis, the more harmful of two newly identified fungal species that cause the disease in ohia.

Experts aren't yet sure how the fungus arrived to the island's northernmost district. Crews are sampling more trees in the infected area during the coming weeks to better assess its cause and how much it has spread.

Committee spokeswoman Franny Brewer said researchers hope to seek funding to further study the disease.

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