White-nose syndrome confirmed in Iowa; more than half of states now confirmed with disease

DES MOINES - White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in Iowa, making it the 26th state to confirm the disease of hibernating bats that has killed more than 5.7 million bats since 2006.

Three bats collected in Des Moines County were confirmed to have white-nose syndrome (WNS). Two little brown bats and one northern long-eared bat observed near a cave entrance showed visible signs of WNS during monitoring for the disease. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin confirmed that the bats had WNS.

Pseudogymnoascus destructans (P. d.), the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, was also detected on additional samples collected from the cave, which as recently as February 2014 had no visual signs of WNS. WNS was also confirmed in four little brown bats collected in Van Buren County this winter after a concerned citizen reported bats flying around outside.

P. d. had previously been detected in caves at Maquoketa Caves State Park in 2011, 2012, and 2013, but it was not detected in the last two winters.

The Iowa DNR conducted routine monitoring and surveillance at other sites and is investigating an unconfirmed report of possible WNS in another county. Additional samples are still being analyzed by the USGS.