White-nose syndrome reaches Nova Scotia and spreads in the United States

Apr 19, 2011 | Amy L. Sonricker Hansen | Outbreak News

A Hunts County, Nova Scotia bat has tested positive for white-nose syndrome. The finding makes Nova Scotia the 4th Canadian province to see signs of the devastating disease. While spread primarily from bat-to-bat and not harmful to humans, Canadian authorities are urging residents to stay out of caves and old mines that are home to bat populations. Humans may inadvertently carry fungal spores that cause the disease into caves by way of clothing or caving gear.   First seen in caves outside of Albany, New York in 2006, white-nose syndrome has spread rapidly west to Oklahoma, north into Canada, and south to the state of North Carolina. With the recent confirmation of the disease in Trigg County, Kentucky, 16 US states have now been affected. White nose syndrome has been the cause of over 1 million bat deaths in Eastern North America, and bat declines have exceeded 70 percent in severely affected areas of New England. The total population of the little brown bat has declined so dramatically that the species may become extinct in the region within 20 years.

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