Springfield, IL - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today confirmed the presence of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease fatal to several bat species, in four Illinois counties.
The University of Illinois- Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), the United States Forest Service (USFS)-Shawnee National Forest, the University of Illinois' Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (UIVDL), and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center-Madison, WI (NWHC) assisted in the discovery of WNS which was detected in LaSalle County in north-central Illinois, Monroe County in southwestern Illinois, and Hardin and Pope Counties in extreme southern Illinois.
Little brown bats and northern long-eared bats from these counties were submitted to the UIVDL and NWHC in early-to-mid February 2013. Both of these laboratories confirmed the disease, while the fungal pathogen was isolated directly from a LaSalle County bat and a Monroe County bat at the INHS.
With confirmation of WNS in Illinois, a total of 20 states, mostly in the eastern U.S., and five Canadian Provinces have now been confirmed infected. Currently seven hibernating bat species are affected by WNS: little brown bat, big brown bat, northern long-eared bat, tri-colored bat, eastern small-footed bat, the endangered Indiana bat, and the endangered gray bat. The disease continues to spread rapidly and has the potential to infect at least half of the bat species found in North America.