Published Date: 2011-05-21 15:05:55
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> White nose syndrome, bats - USA: federal plan
Archive Number: 20110521.1544
WHITE NOSE SYNDROME, BATS - USA: FEDERAL PLAN
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 17 May 2011
Source: Fish and Wildlife services [edited]
Fish and Wildlife Service Unveils National Plan to Combat Deadly
White-Nose Syndrome in Bats
The Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today
[17 May 2011] unveiled a national management plan to address the
threat posed by white-nose syndrome, which has killed more than a
million hibernating bats in eastern North America since it was
discovered near Albany, New York in 2006.
"Having spread to 18 states and 4 Canadian provinces, white-nose
syndrome threatens far-reaching ecological and economic impacts," said
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. "We've learned a lot in the
past few years about the disease, but there is much more work to be
done to contain it. This national plan provides a road map for
federal, state, and tribal agencies and scientific researchers to
follow and will facilitate sharing of resources and information to
more efficiently address the threat."
"The National Plan for Assisting States, Tribes and Federal Agencies
in Managing White-Nose Syndrome in Bats" provides a coordinated
national management strategy for investigating the cause of the
syndrome and finding a means to prevent the spread of the disease. The
service considered approximately 17 000 comments received on the draft
plan made available to the public in October 2010.
Since the syndrome was 1st documented, the service has been leading a
national response that now includes more than 100 state and federal
agencies, tribes, organizations and individuals.
Interior Department agencies have invested more than USD 10.8 million
in this effort since 2007. This includes more than USD 3 million in
research funding that is supporting ongoing research projects looking
for methods to control or cure the disease.
For example, researchers working with the U.S. Geological Survey have
identified _Geomyces destructans_, a fungus new to science, as the
presumed causative agent. In addition to research, the national
response has also developed decontamination protocols to reduce the
transmission of the fungus, surveillance strategies, and technical
white-nose syndrome diagnostic procedures.
Bat populations are at risk in some areas of the country as a result
of white-nose syndrome. Ecologists and natural resource managers are
concerned because of the critical role that bats play in maintaining
healthy ecosystems and in agricultural systems. A recent analysis
published in Science magazine's Policy Forum showed that pest-control
services provided by insect-eating bats save the U.S. agricultural
industry at least USD 3 billion a year.
The national plan's release coincides with the 4th annual WNS
Symposium to be held in Little Rock, Arkansas, 17-19 May 2011. More
than 170 of the world's top scientific experts on bats, wildlife
disease, and the WNS fungus will present the latest research and
information on how to contain the spread, determine the cause, and
hopefully find a cure for WNS.
State, federal and tribal land managers will also discuss the
national response to WNS and implementation teams will formalize work
plans as part of a more detailed implementation strategy.
The final document and additional information about WNS are available
online at http://www.fws.gov/WhiteNoseSyndrome/
[Well, I am a little baffled. This news release tells me a lot about
where WNS is, and what it could cost or is costing the agricultural
industry. But I really don't see much of a plan. I see a
recommendation to use disinfectants to prevent the spread of this
fungus on spelunkers (cave explorers) and tourists. But this was
suggested early on when there was some thought that it could be spread
by visitors to caves.
What I don't see is what kind of disinfectant is going to be used?
How is it going to be used? On the people? On the bats? On the caves
themselves? If it is to be used in the cave or on the bats do we know
if it is toxic to the bats? Is the cure worse than the disease?
While I am sure the plan has been worked on long and hard, this news
release does not provide much more information than a summary of where
WNS is found. - Mod.TG]
[Photo of WNS-affected bats & more info:
Map of USA showing spread as of 23 Apr 2011: