Deadly Fungus Affecting Hibernating Bats Could Spread During Summer

August 1, 2017
Contact: Marisa Lubeck, 303-526-6694, mlubeck@usgs.gov
Gail Moede Rogall, 608-270-2438, gmrogall@usgs.gov

The cold-loving fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd) that causes white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of North American bats during hibernation, could also spread in summer months. Bats and humans visiting contaminated caves and mines can inadvertently contribute to the spread of the fungus, according to a recently published study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS scientists tested samples collected from bats, the environment and equipment at eight bat hibernation sites in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. They found that bats occupying such sites in summer can harbor the Pd fungus on their skin, and that Pd is more readily detectable in their guano, or feces.

The scientists also detected Pd on clothing and equipment taken inside and near caves and mines used by bats. These detections demonstrate that gear exposed to fungal-infected environments is a potential mechanism for Pd spread, even during summertime when the prevalence of WNS is low. WNS is not known to affect humans, pets, livestock or other wildlife.

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Source: Alabama Department of Conservation, Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Source: Alabama Bat Working Group
Source: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Source: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Source: Bat Conservation International, Source: Texas A&M AgriLife
Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Source: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Source: U.S. Forest Service
Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Source: Bat Conservation International, Source: The Nature Conservancy
Source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Source: Organization for Bat Conservation, Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Source: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Source: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Source: University of California, Santa Cruz
Source: Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Source: University of California, Santa Cruz, Source: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Source: Boston University
Source: Organization for Bat Conservation, Source: U.S. Forest Service, Source: Bat Conservation International
Source: U.S. Forest Service, Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Source: National Park Service
Source: Bat Conservation International, Source: The Nature Conservancy
Source: Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Source: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Source: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources
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Source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Source: Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Source: U.S. Forest Service
Source: Bat Conservation International, Source: The Nature Conservancy
Source: Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
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Source: University of Akron
Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center
Source: U.S. Forest Service
Source: Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources
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Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center
Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center
Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center
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Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center
Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center
Source: Eastern Michigan University
Source: U.S. Forest Service, Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
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Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife
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Source: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife
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Source: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife
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Source: Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
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Source: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
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