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Bat mortalities are approaching 90% (File photo)
Bat mortalities are approaching 90% (File photo)

White Nose syndrome continues rapid spread, infecting bats

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The rapid spread of the bat-killing disease known as White Nose Syndrome continues to baffle and alarm scientists. The fungus was first identified in upstate New York and has now appeared in states as far away as Oklahoma and North Carolina. Brian Mann has our update.

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Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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White nose syndrome is deadly in the animals it infects but it also vectors with incredible speed, apparently jumping from animal to animal as they travel through the summer and winter months.

Earlier this month scientists confirmed that the fungus had been identified in two new states, Indiana and North Carolina. 

 So far, bat populations in sixteen states and two Canadian provinces have been infected. 

 “This winter is shaping up as the most destructive and heartbreaking yet,” said Mollie Matteson, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity in Vermont, in a statement.

 The green group hopes Federal agencies will move more quickly to establish endangered species protections for bats and close more caves to human activity.

The organization wants $10 million additional dollars earmarked for fighting WNS.

 According to the Indiana Tribune Star Newspaper, researchers identified two infected little brown bats in late January that showed the white fungus.

 One of the animals was sent to a lab where white nose syndrome was confirmed. 

 So far, scientists believe more than a million bats have died in the eastern US.  Some of the most important bat wintering sites in the North Country and Vermont have seen mortality between 90 and 100 percent.

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