2:44pm

Fri June 10, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Killer Bat Disease goes Untested

Wildlife management officials say they can’t test bats again for white nose syndrome until November. In April, officials confirmed the first cases of the fungus at a cave in Trigg County.  Right now, Wildlife Diversity Program Coordinator Sunny Carr says bats are mating and raising young, and they can’t be studied. However, Carr says it is possible they can spread the spores that cause white nose.

“The bats groom themselves and you don’t visibly see the fungus, but they’re still a lot of unknowns about how viable those spores are on the bats and in the environment over a long period of time and at different temperatures, different times of the year, but that is certainly a possibility,” said Carr.

Once a bat cave is infected, Carr says, it will stay infected. No cure for white nose bat syndrome has been found. Tourist attractions like Mammoth Cave have taken precautions to limit the spread. The fungus has killed an estimated one million bats since 2006.