White-nose syndrome is a disease that is killing hibernating bats in eastern North America. WNS was first documented at four sites in eastern New York 2007. After that, photographs taken in February 2006 were found, showing affected bats at another site.
Named for the white fungus on the muzzles and wings of affected bats, WNS has rapidly spread to many sites throughout the eastern United States and into Canada. The fungus that causes WNS has been detected as far south as Mississippi. Researchers associate WNS with the newly identified fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which thrives in cold and humid conditions characteristic of caves and mines used by bats.
Bats affected with WNS do not always have obvious fungal growth, but they may behave strangely within and outside of their hibernacula (caves and mines where bats hibernate during the winter).