Bats White-Nose Syndrome
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.
Scientists believe that White-nose Syndrome (WNS) 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.
While many possible causes of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) are being studied, no credible evidence links climate change and WNS.
An extensive network of state and federal agencies is working to investigate the cause, source and spread of bat deaths associated with White-nose Syndrome (WNS), and to develop management strategies to minimize the impacts of WNS.
Bats may lose their fat reserves, which they need to survive hibernation, long before the winter is over. They often leave their hibernacula during the winter and die.
We have seen 90 to 100 percent mortality of bats (mostly little brown bats) due to White-nose Syndrome (WNS) at hibernacula in the northeastern United States. However, mortality may differ by site and by species within sites.
As White-nose Syndrome (WNS) spreads, the challenges facing wildlife managers in understanding threats to bat populations and managing WNS continue to increase.
What is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommending in its cave advisory for White-nose Syndrome?
The Service’s cave advisory has four recommendations to limit the possible spread of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) by human activity:
White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is a disease that is killing hibernating bats in eastern North America. WNS was first documented at four sites in eastern New York 2007.
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.
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