Bat White-Nose Syndrome in Oklahoma – 05/26/2010

  • December 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm #1796

    Bat White Nose Syndrome Confirmed In Oklahoma
    From Patricia Doyle, PhD

    The Promed moderator seems to feel that since the bat was not dead and was found alive that this may signal the waning of White Nose Syndrome. It is possible that the bat was discovered early in the infection cycle and due to enhanced monitoring WNS is identified quickly in this case. The fact that it has now hit a bat species that is found in western states from Oklahoma to California, we are likely seeing a widening of the outbreak. White Nose Syndrome has not slowed down in the Northeast and we are still losing 90-99% of existing bats.

    The cave myotis velifer is also found in Mexico. If this species carries WNS into Mexico we could see a major loss of many bat species and White Nose Syndrome may then spread into Central and South America.

    Time will tell.



    Date: Wed 19 May 2010
    Source: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, US Fish and
    Wildlife Service news release [edited]
    Bat fungus documented in Oklahoma

    Laboratory tests performed at the US Geological Survey National Health Center in Madison Wisconsin have confirmed that a cave myotis (_Myotis velifer_) bat collected alive on 3 May 2010 from a cave in northwest Oklahoma has tested positive for the fungus _Geomyces destructans_. This fungus is associated with a condition known as “white nose syndrome”, which appears to be specific to some species of hibernating bats and was first observed in 4 caves in New York during the winter of 2006.

    Bats with white nose syndrome (WNS) have noticeable white fungus growing on their skin, particularly on their noses and other bare surfaces including their wings. White nose syndrome frequently results in the deaths of the infected bats. Biologists continue to study the bat specimens to determine if all bats that come into contact with the fungus will develop the disease. There have been no reported human illnesses attributed to the fungus or to white nose syndrome, and there is no evidence to suggest that the syndrome is harmful to organisms other than bats.

    Although genetic tests indicate that the bat was harboring the fungus, the pattern of infection was not consistent with the white nose syndrome infection observed in bats in the eastern United States. There also has not been a mortality event attributable to white nose syndrome in Oklahoma to date. Both the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are concerned about the potential development of white nose syndrome in Oklahoma in the near future. The ODWC and FWS’s Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office anticipate working in partnership with other federal and state agencies, researchers and conservation partners to monitor other Oklahoma caves and bat populations for the fungus and signs of white nose syndrome.

    This finding is the 1st record of the fungus in Oklahoma and represents the most western report to date. The next closest known report of the fungus occurred in eastern Missouri earlier this year [2010]. To date, all of the white nose syndrome cases have been east of the Mississippi River. This finding also represents the 1st discovery of the fungus in a bat species that does not occur in the eastern United States. The range of the cave myotis extends from western Oklahoma and Texas west and south into New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Mexico.

    The potential impact of white nose syndrome is considered to be significant due to the highly beneficial ecological and economic roles played by bats. Bats consume mosquitoes, moths, and other night-flying insects including species that cause extensive forest and agricultural damage. Additionally, bat guano provides essential nutrients to many otherwise nutrient-limited cave environments where other animals live.

    Currently, white nose syndrome is believed to be transmitted primarily through bat-to-bat contact. However, it is possible that the fungus could be transmitted by humans who enter caves and carry the fungus on their shoes, gear, and clothing. Within the past 4 years, white nose syndrome has been documented in 11 states and 2 Canadian provinces and is considered likely in 2 additional states where the fungus has been found.

    For more information about white nose syndrome, including information about ongoing research, recommended decontamination procedures for caving gear and clothing, and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit the Service’s white nose syndrome national website at>.

    Communicated by:
    Dixie L Birch, PhD
    Field Supervisor/Project Leader
    Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office
    9014 E. 21st Street
    Tulsa, OK 74129
    A picture of a cave myotis may be seen at

    These bats have a diverse range from southern California, to Missouri, but are only found seasonally in Texas. Although they are found in a broad area, it is not a continuous pattern of coverage, but rather, large pockets of population throughout this region.

    This is an interesting post, as it has not yet resulted in bat mortality. Hopefully this heralds a moment when the disease has begun to wane. If there are reports of mortality of the bats we would appreciate a notification. – Mod.TG]

    The state of Oklahoma in the south central region of the US can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at>. – Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ

    Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my “Emerging Diseases” message board at: Also my new website Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health


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