Published Date: 2012-05-03 20:51:52
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> White nose syndrome, bats - North America (15): USA (TN)
Archive Number: 20120503.1122040
WHITE NOSE SYNDROME, BATS - NORTH AMERICA (15): USA (TENNESSEE)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 2 May 2012
Source: TheChattanoogan.com [edited]
A biologist and volunteers working within the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park collected 2 tricolored bats in a park cave in Hamilton County, Tennessee, one of which tested positive for white-nose syndrome (WNS).
The collected bats represent about 18 percent of the total number of bats observed in this park cave, and no dead bats were seen. The bats were sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, where the disease was confirmed by histopathology.
White-nose syndrome is a disease caused by the fungus _Geomyces destructans_ and is responsible for the recent death of millions of bats in eastern North America. It is named for the white fungus that forms primarily on the muzzle, ears, and wings of infected bats. While the cause of death is unknown, the disease causes bats to become restless during hibernation, moving throughout the cave and burning up fat reserves and potentially losing body water they need to survive the winter. There is no known cure for the disease.
Bats play an important role in natural ecosystems and actually provide services that benefit people, such as eating large amounts of insect pests. The fungus that causes WNS apparently does not pose a health risk to humans; however, park visitors are reminded to not handle bats as they are known to carry other diseases such as rabies. If you see a dead, sick or injured bat within the park, please notify the park.
In 2009, all park caves were closed to the public in an attempt to reduce the chance of importation of the WNS pathogen. White-nose syndrome is transmitted primarily from bat to bat, but fungal spores may be inadvertently carried between caves by humans on clothing or gear. Park caves will remain closed indefinitely to minimize the risk of humans accidentally spreading the disease to other areas.
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts
[White-nose syndrome (WNS) has been reported in Tennessee before, although never in Hamilton County. The geographical distribution of WNS by the end of April can be seen at
http://www.fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome/maps/WNSMAP04-27-12_300dpi.jpg. It is unclear why these bats were collected in this cave. From the text it can be inferred that 2 out of 11 were collected and none was dead. It would be interesting to know whether they showed the typical WNS signs. A map of the affected area can be accessed at
http://healthmap.org/r/2fPo - Mod.PMB]