Collecting a skin swab for white-nose syndrome surveillance

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Detailed Description

This video shows the proper technique for collecting a skin swab from a bat that is either roosting in place or is manually restrained for white-nose syndrome surveillance. White-nose syndrome (WNS) (https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nwhc/science/white-nose-syndrome) is a highly fatal disease affecting multiple species of North American bats that is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. More information on white-nose syndrome surveillance is available from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nwhc/science/white-nose-syndrome-surveillance). This procedure is intended to be performed by an authorized wildlife professional only. Bats may carry rabies and should never be directly handled without appropriate safety precautions.
 

Details

Image Dimensions: 1280 x 720

Date Taken:

Length: 00:03:26

Location Taken: Madison, WI, US

Video Credits

Filming and narration by S. Grange. Technique demonstrated by A. Ballmann. Video editing by S. Grange and A. Ward. Audio description by A. Ward.
 

Transcript

Make sure the water is in the bottom of the tube by shaking and flicking the vial. Open the vial being careful not to touch the inside of cap with your gloves. Remove sterile swab from packaging without touching the applicator tip. Place the sterile swab into the sample vial to moisten.

 

Not all of the liquid may be absorbed into the tip, a small amount of water may remain at the bottom of the tube.

 

Bats can be swabbed without removing them from their roosting location in the hibernaculum to minimize disturbance. There is no need to change gloves between sampling individual bats if there is no direct handling of the animal.

 

Collect the swab sample over the forearm area between the elbow and the wrist and then across the muzzle. Gently roll the swab three times over the skin surface so that all surfaces of the swab contact the skin.

 

If you are directly handling the bat, like in a trap survey, the person restraining the bat should wear disposable exam gloves over bite resistant gloves and change into clean exam gloves between each bat. Consider wearing multiple layers of disposable exam gloves if you will be handling lots of bats over a short period of time so that you can peel off the outermost layer quickly between bats.

 

Hold the bat with one wing slightly abducted from the body to access the dorsal surface of the forearm. Collect the swab sample over the forearm area between the elbow and the wrist and then across the muzzle. Gently roll the swab three times over the skin surface so that all surfaces of the swab contact the skin.

 

Return the skin swab to the same vial and lower approximately half way into the vial. Bend the plastic shaft over the edge of the rim and press the screw cap over the top to prevent the swab from flipping out of the vial once it snaps off. Screw the lid onto the vial tightly and place the vial into the bag labeled samples.