Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

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True or False? People can catch white-nose syndrome from bats or the environment. 

  1. True
  2. False

To see the answer, scroll down below the image.

Image: Brown Bats in Cave
Little brown bats in New York cave. Photograph credit: Al Hicks, New York Department of Environmental Conservation


The correct answer is false. The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS) likes cold conditions, such as where bats hibernate. Human body temperatures are too warm for the fungus to grow.

WNS is an emergent disease of hibernating bats that has spread from the northeastern to the central United States at an alarming rate. In 2016, a little brown bat in Washington State was confirmed to have WNS. Since the winter of 2007-2008, millions of insect-eating bats have died from this devastating disease, which infects the skin of the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners, continue to play a primary role in WNS research.

To learn more, visit the USGS website on white-nose syndrome. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to learn more about bat diseases associated with humans.

"Hazard a Guess?" is an ongoing series, so check out past questions and come back soon for more. Don't forget to share these with friends and family to help raise awareness of natural hazards.