Source of Bat-Killing Syndrome Identified

Geomyces fungus behind white-nose syndrome

Bat with White-Nose Syndrome

Little Brown Bat with White-Nose Syndrome     Photo: USFWS Headquarters/Flickr

Scientists from the National Wildlife Health Center have identified a fungus that causes a deadly and highly contagious disease that has decimated bat populations across the United States. In a study published yesterday in Nature, the team recreated fungal infections with Geomyces destructans and noted the same syptoms—namely a white fuzz that grows on the noses of infected bats—that biologists have observered among bats populations affected by white-nose syndrome in the wild. The disease has killed more than a million bats so far, including up to 90 percent of bats in some infected hibernacula. The U.S. Forest Service has closed dozens of caves to tourists and spelunkers in an attempt to prevent the spread of the disease. Though the fungus exists in European bats, it has not been responsible for deaths there.

Read more at Nature

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