Ozark National Scenic Riverways News Release: Ozark NSR Closes All Caves after White-Nose Syndrome is Discovered in Shannon County

Van Buren, MO - Officials at Ozark National Scenic Riverways have announced the closure of all caves in the park effective immediately. On May 2 bat researchers from Missouri State University found an infectious fungus in five gray bats netted just outside a cave in Shannon County, Missouri. The bats tested positive in a genetics test for the Geomyces destructans fungus, which causes White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). Scars on their wings were a clue that the bats probably were infected over the winter, when the fungus grows on the bats’ faces and skin during hibernation. The cool, damp conditions in many caves provide an environment in which the fungus thrives.