A Five-Year Assessment of Mortality and Geographic Spread of White-Nose Syndrome in North American Bats and a Look to the Future


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Bat Research News

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The presence of an unusual fungal infection and aberrant behavior in hibernating bats was first described in New York during winter 2006–2007. The disease was dubbed white-nose syndrome (WNS) after the most prominent field sign—white fungus on the muzzle and other areas of exposed skin. The fungus, newly described as Geomyces destructans, also produces characteristic skin lesions on the wing and other membranes of bats (Blehert et al., 2009; Courtin et al., 2010; Meteyer et al., 2009) and probably is the causative agent of the disease (Blehert et al., 2009; Gargas et al., 2009). In this review, we briefly summarize the current state of knowledge, including estimates of mortality for a five-state region, and describe a national plan for managing WNS. Our report is not meant to be a comprehensive review of the ever-expanding literature, but we do include a bibliography of peer-reviewed publications concerning WNS.

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