DISEASE DEADLY TO BATS CONFIRMED IN GEORGIA
ATLANTA (March 12, 2013) – The disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern U.S. has been confirmed for the first time in Georgia.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that bats with white-nose syndrome were found recently at two caves in Dade County.
A National Park Service biologist and volunteers discovered about 15 tri-colored bats with visible white-nose symptoms in a Lookout Mountain Cave at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in late February. On March 5, a group led by a Georgia DNR biologist also found tri-colored bats with visible symptoms in Sittons Cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park.
A bat from each northwest Georgia site was sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens. Histopathology confirmed both bats had white-nose syndrome.
The name describes a white fungus, Geomyces destructans, often found on the muzzles, ears and wings of infected bats. White-nose, or WNS, spreads mainly through bat-to-bat contact. There is no evidence it infects humans or other animals. But spores may be carried cave-to-cave by people on clothing or gear.
|tri-colored bat infected with deadly white-nose syndrome|
Image by Pete Pattavina, USFWS, Bugwood.org