The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has posted new white-nose syndrome decontamination protocols and supporting documentation for cavers.
While bat-to-bat transmission is believed to be the primary method for the spread of the fungus likely responsible for WNS (Geomyces destructans), recent research and long-distance jumps in WNS affected sites suggests that human-assisted transmission does pose a threat to bat populations.
Recent pilot studies have determined that fungal spores can be transferred from cave sediment to cave gear, including equipment and clothing, then transported to an uninfected cave. Bats can develop WNS directly from affected cave environments, even in the absence of infected bats.
In addition to decontaminating gear, the USFWS recommends that cavers observe cave closures and advisories on all State, Federal, tribal and private lands. If cavers choose to disregard cave closures, it is imperative to follow decontamination protocols to prevent further spread of WNS. For more information, check out: