Cases of "White-Nose Syndrome" are confirmed
April 03, 2012
A little brown bat, such as this one, and two tri-colored bats have been confirmed to have a deadly disease called "White-Nose Syndrome" (WNS). Three cases of the disease recently were found in bats from two public caves in Lincoln County in Missouri that have since been closed. The disease, a white fungus typically found on the faces and wings of infected bats, spreads through bat-to-bat contact and has not been found to infect humans or other animals. Evidence of the fungus that causes WNS first was detected in Missouri in April 2010 on a little brown bat found in a privately owned cave in Pike County and the next month evidence of the fungus was detected on five federally endangered gray bats and on a northern long-eared bat netted outside a public cave in Shannon County. With these new confirmed cases officials are concerned that the breeding habit--only one pup a year--will not keep up with the loss caused by the disease that continues to spread. It has been reported that Missouri is home to 12 species of bats and that they are a front-line defense against many insect pests including some moths, certain beetles and mosquitoes. Missouri's estimated 775,000 gray bats alone eat more than 223 million bugs a year. People should not handle any bats, and should contact their local Missouri Dept. of Conservation office or conservation agent if they find dead bats or see bats flying outside during the day during cold winter months when they typically would be roosting or hibernating.

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