What is White-nose Syndrome?
White-nose syndrome is an emergent disease of hibernating bats that has spread from the northeastern to the central United States at an alarming rate. Since the winter of 2007-2008, millions of insect-eating bats in at least 29 states and five Canadian provinces have died from this devastating disease. The disease is named for the white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, that infects skin of the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats. The fungus thrives in cold and humid conditions characteristic of caves and mines used by bats.
Scientists believe that White-nose Syndrome is transmitted primarily from bat to bat. There is a strong possibility that it may also be transmitted by humans inadvertently carrying the fungus from cave to cave on their clothing and gear.
Bats affected with White-nose Syndrome don't always have obvious fungal growth, but they might behave strangely inside and outside of the cave where they hibernate during the winter.
All healthy bats try to avoid humans by taking flight and are not purposely aggressive. Most bats are about the size of a mouse and use their small teeth and weak jaws to grind up insects. You should avoid handling bats because several species, such as the hoary and big brown bats, have large teeth that can puncture skin if...Read Full Answer
Dead bats are found beneath wind turbines all over the world. It’s estimated that tens to hundreds of thousands die at wind turbines each year in North America alone.
Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear why this is happening. It’s possible that wind turbines interfere with seasonal migration and mating patterns in some...Read Full Answer
White-nose Syndrome mostly affects hibernating bats. More than half of the 47 bat species living in the United States and Canada hibernate to survive the winter.
Eleven bat species, including three endangered species and one proposed species, are already affected by White-nose Syndrome or exposed to the causative...Read Full Answer
In response to White-nose Syndrome (WNS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the states request that cavers observe all cave closures and advisories, and avoid caves, mines or passages containing hibernating bats to minimize disturbance to them. The Service asks that cavers and cave visitors stay out of all caves in the...Read Full Answer
Thousands of people have visited affected caves and mines since White-nose Syndrome (WNS) was first observed, and there have been no reported human illnesses attributable to WNS. We are still learning about WNS, but we know of no risk to humans from contact with WNS-affected bats. However, we urge taking precautions and not...Read Full Answer
Hot new imagery from temperature-sensing cameras suggests that bats who warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus ravaging insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada.
Biologists have confirmed white-nose syndrome in the southeastern bat, or Myotis austroriparius, for the first time. The species joins eight other hibernating bat species in North America that are afflicted with the deadly bat fungal disease.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – White-nose syndrome (WNS) has been confirmed in a little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) found near North Bend – the first recorded occurrence of this devastating bat disease in western North America. The presence of this disease was verified by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center
For the first time, scientists have developed a detailed explanation of how white-nose syndrome (WNS) is killing millions of bats in North America, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin. The scientists created a model for how the disease progresses from initial infection to death in bats during hibernation.
Scientists working to understand the devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) now have a new, non-lethal tool to identify bats with WNS lesions —ultraviolet, or UV, light.
White-Nose Syndrome Bat Recovery May Present Challenges Similar to Those in Some Recovering AIDS Patients
Bats recovering from white-nose syndrome show evidence of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), according to a hypothesis proposed by the U.S. Geological Survey and collaborators at National Institutes of Health. This condition was first described in HIV-AIDS patients and, if proven in bats surviving WNS, would be the first natural occurrence of IRIS ever observed.
Tattered Wings: Bats Grounded by White-Nose Syndrome’s Lethal Effects on Life-Support Functions of Wings
Madison, Wisconsin—Damage to bat wings from the fungus associated with white-nose syndrome (WNS) may cause catastrophic imbalance in life-support processes, according to newly published research.
Newly Identified Fungus Implicated in White-Nose Syndrome in Bats: Mysterious Bat Disease Decimates Colonies in the Northeast
A previously undescribed, cold-loving fungus has been linked to white-nose syndrome, a condition associated with the deaths of over 100,000 hibernating bats in the northeastern United States. The findings are published in this week's issue of Science.
Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome
A bat with White-nose syndrome hanging in a cave. Photo by USFWS.
Long-wave ultraviolet (UV) and white-light illumination of lesions associated with white-nose syndrome. Wing from dead eastern pipestrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus) lit from above with hand-held 51 LED 385-nm UV flashlight shows points of orange–yellow fluorescence.
Long-wave ultraviolet (UV) and white-light illumination of lesions associated with white-nose syndrome. Points of orange–yellow fluorescence (arrows) detected on a roosting Indiana myotis (Myotis sodalis) following surface illumination with a field-portable 9-watt 368-nm fluorescent UV light (photo by Tina Cheng with permission).
Hibernating little brown bat with white muzzle typical of White-nose syndrome.
Over the last several decades, non-native species have continued to invade sensitive ecosystems in the United States. Two high-profile species, Asian carp in the Midwest and Burmese pythons in the Everglades, are the focus of much attention by decision makers, the public and the media. Sharon Gross, Robert Reed and Cynthia Kolar discuss issues related to invasive species and explain innovative methods used to help detect and control these invaders.
Since first discovered in 2007 in New York, white-nose syndrome has spread to 16 states, including Virginia and Maryland, and four Canadian provinces. The disease is estimated to have killed over five million hibernating bats. An outbreak of infectious disease among bats on the order of white-nose syndrome is without precedent, and although insect-feeding wild bats may lack the easily defined monetary value of domestic animals, a recent analysis showed that they provide natural pest control services to American farmers valued at approximately $23 billion per year. Dr. David Blehert discusses this emergent wildlife disease and the profound impacts white-nose syndrome may have in the 21st century.
Damage to bat wings from the fungus associated with white-nose syndrome (WNS) may cause catastrophic imbalance in life-support processes, and this imbalance may be to blame for the more than 1 million deaths of bats due to WNS thus far. Paul Cryan, USGS bat ecologist at the Fort Collins Science Center, discusses this newly published USGS research.
USGS pathologist Nancy Thomas conducting necropsy on little brown bat at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (Allison Klein, USGS).