About white-nose syndrome

What is white-nose syndrome?

White-nose syndrome is a disease affecting hibernating bats. Named for the white fungus that appears on the muzzle and other parts of hibernating bats, WNS is associated with extensive mortality of bats in eastern North America. First documented in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, WNS has spread rapidly across the eastern United States and Canada, and the fungus that causes WNS has been detected as far south as Mississippi and as far west as the state of Washington.

Bats with WNS act strangely during cold winter months, including flying outside in the day and clustering near the entrances of hibernacula (caves and mines where bats hibernate). Bats have been found sick and dying in unprecedented numbers in and around caves and mines. WNS has killed more than 5.7 million bats in eastern North America. In some hibernacula, 90 to 100 percent of bats have died.

Many laboratories and state and federal biologists are investigating the cause of the bat deaths. A fungus discovered in 2008, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or pd, (formerly Geomyces destructans), has been demonstrated to cause WNS. Scientists are investigating the dynamics of fungal infection and transmission, and searching for a way to control it

Download a white-nose syndrome fact sheet from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.