The white nose disorder is caused by a fungus and it is lethal for the winged mammals.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – The white nose disorder is affecting bats in the US. The fungus infection began in a Western state, and it has now reached Washington. If the disease continues to spread, it could cause the extinction of several bat species.
On March 11, a group of hikers discovered a sick brown bat, west of the Rocky Mountains. The winged mammal was still alive, but it was unable to fly. So the hikers decided to take it to a shelter. Unfortunately, the creature died two days later.
The dead bat was then sent to the Wisconsin’s Health Center for National Wildlife and Geological Survey of the United States. Upon analyzing it, the scientists at the Health Center confirmed that the winged mammal died because of the white nose disorder.
According to a member of the United States Wildlife and Fish Service, Jeremy Coleman, this first detection of the illness is to be taken very seriously. The first confirmed case was in Nebraska.
Unfortunately, the white nose disorder has already claimed the lives of over 6 million bats in the United States. This extinction causing epidemic has only affected the eastern parts of the US for now. One of the experts described the outbreak as being the most precipitous species decline in the history of the American wildlife.
Moreover, the bats are crucial for the environment and the human population of the US. The winged mammals usually feed on insects, especially mosquitoes. If their number continues to decline due to the fungal illness, the American population could face new outbreaks of diseases spread by the mosquitoes.
Furthermore, alongside human health, the insects that are now rapidly growing in numbers will affect crops and forests.
The scientific community is worried about the appearance of the sick bath all the way in Washington. They already are searching the area between Washington and Nebraska to see whether or not there are more infected specimens out there.
The Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus responsible for the white-nose disorder does not affect humans, at least, that is what the studies have shown so far.
White nose disorder is affecting bats in the US, and the researchers have no idea how to stop it from spreading. Ever since 2006 when it was first discovered in the upstate region of New York, it has caused the death of over 6 million specimens.
Image source: Wikimedia