White Nose Bat Syndrome Spreads – MO & TN = Unstoppable – 04/22/2010

  • December 22, 2013 at 11:18 pm #1811

    White Nose Bat Syndrome Spreads – MO & TN = Unstoppable
    White Nose Syndrome Hits MO – No Stopping It Now
    Patricia Doyle, PhD

    This is frightful news. White Nose Syndrome hits bats in northeastern Missouri. WNS has also been discovered in the Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee. I must admit that I did feel the next discovery would be in or around Asheville, NC. I believe that officials in Missouri also felt that Missouri might have had some time before the disease was to strike.

    We cannot figure out how this is spreading and therefore cannot slow the spread down or take measures to prevent its spread.

    Loss of bats in farming areas of the country mean the farm pests will have to be eradicated via other means. Unfortunately, if MORE pesticides are used we might just end up with a vicious circle of more sick bats, and bees. More bats gone means more pesticides used…and the deadly cycle continues..


    In this posting: [1] Missouri [2] Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee)

    [1] Missouri Date: Tue 20 Apr 2010 Source: R&D Magazine/Life Sciences, Associated Press (AP) report [edited] http://www.rdmag.com/News/FeedsAP/2010/04/life-

    New bat disease found in north east Missouri cave

    Dozens of Missouri’s bat caves will be closed as a result of the recent discovery of white nose syndrome, a fungus responsible for killing more than a million bats in the eastern United States. Officials with the Missouri Department of Conservation confirmed on Monday [19 Apr 2010] that the disease was detected in a little brown bat in a cave in Pike County in the north eastern part of the state.

    The deadly disease was first discovered in New York in 2006 and has been rapidly spreading west. With the Pike County discovery, Missouri becomes the 12th state with a confirmed case of white nose syndrome, state conservation officials said.

    “We’ve been tracking it move through Tennessee and thought we might have a little grace period, at least a year anyway,” said Bill Elliott, a Missouri Department of Conservation cave biologist. “So, it was a bit of a surprise that it jumped this far this fast.”

    State and federal biologists have been on the lookout for white nose syndrome in Missouri caves for the last few years. Elliott credits a sharp-eyed field biologist for spotting the Pike County bat, which had a small growth on its wing but appeared healthy otherwise. “Clearly, this disease is spreading quickly, but we also have more eyes out there than ever before,” Elliott said. “So early detection is definitely playing a role.”

    Many mysteries continue to surround white nose syndrome, which poses no risk to humans and appears to be spread from bat to bat. Affected bats have been found with white fungus typically on their noses. Their behavior is altered, flying outside of caves during winter or clustering at the entrance of a cave rather than inside.

    Scientists suspect people may inadvertently spread the disease when they go into caves, perhaps through fungal spores on hair, clothes or equipment.

    That’s why the US Forest Service last year [2009] voluntarily closed caves in 20 states, including Missouri and Illinois, where there have been no confirmed reports of the disease. In Missouri, access was restricted to 600 caves in the Mark Twain National Forest.

    The discovery will trigger the closure of 80 bat caves on land managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation, according to a plan approved by the agency the day after the Pike County case was reported in mid-April [2010]. Judd Slivka, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, said the agency is evaluating what to do with the bat caves on property it owns. Some of Missouri’s most popular caves are in state parks such as Onondaga and Meramec. The vast majority of Missouri’s 6300 caves are privately owned and will be unaffected by state or federal closure orders.

    Still, Elliott said conservation officials hope to work with private landowners to educate them about the symptoms of white nose syndrome. Scott House, president of the Cave Research Foundation, said he anticipates most cave enthusiasts will obey closure orders and work with land managers to help identify the disease. “I think organized cavers will continue to do the right thing,” House said. “I would never go into a cave again if it meant I was helping the local bat population.”

    Elliott said bats play a vital role in cave ecosystems. Not only do their droppings provide food for other animals, they eat a number of pests such as mosquitoes, and some moths and beetles. He estimated Missouri’s 775 000 gray bats eat more than 223 billion bugs — about 540 tons — each year.

    In coming weeks, state and federal officials, conservation groups and private cave owners will be working on a plan to address the threat of white nose syndrome to local bat populations. Missouri is home to at least 12 species of bats, including 2 endangered species, the gray and Indiana bats.

    Biologists also will continue to survey caves, looking for signs of white nose syndrome. “My guess is, now that we’ve found it in one cave, it’s probably here in others,” Elliott said. “It’s just a matter of looking.”

    byline: Kim McGuire
    communicated by ProMED-mail promed@promedmail.org

    Missouri marks an expansion of this disease’s westward movement. It is sad news for Missouri, indeed for all of us. Several new treatments are being tried, but there have been no reports of any success, yet. – Mod.TG

    The Midwestern state of Missouri can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at http://healthmap.org/r/01dx Pike County can be located on the map at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_County,_Missouri – Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ

    [2] Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee) Date: Mon 19 Apr 2010 Source: The Daily Times [edited] http://www.thedailytimes.com/article/20100419/NEWS/100419959

    Bat-killing fungus confirmed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Biologists at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have received confirmation that a bat collected from White Oak Blowhole cave [on the Tennessee side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park] tested positive for the fungus believed to cause the fatal white nose syndrome [WNS] that has been decimating bat populations in the north east.

    White Oak Blowhole cave contains the largest known Indiana bat hibernacula in Tennessee. The Indiana bat is a federally listed endangered species. White nose syndrome has killed more than 90 per cent of the bats in many of the caves and mines in the north east, and is just now showing up in the south east.

    The fungal infection of 1 of the 2 bats collected in the park was confirmed by the US Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to confirming the fungal infection of the little brown bat, a common bat species, photographs taken of federally listed Indiana bats in the cave were found consistent with the early stages of WNS.

    “We closed all of the Park’s 17 caves and 2 mine complexes to any public entry a year ago [2009] to prevent the possible importation of the WNS pathogen on visitor’s clothing or gear, but scientists have confirmed that bat-to-bat transmission of the fungus occurs,” Park wildlife biologist Bill Stiver said. “We take this very seriously because national parks are often the primary refuge that endangered species can count on for protection.”

    The park’s caves will remain closed. Rangers are increasing their enforcement to reduce the likelihood that visitors might transport the WNS pathogen to uninfected colonies either in the Park or elsewhere. Violators face fines of up to 6 months in jail or USD 5000.

    White nose syndrome is named for the white fungus that forms on the faces of many infected bats. Just how the fungus causes death in the bats is still being investigated. “While a lot of people may misunderstand and even dislike bats,” Stiver said, “they may be hugely important in controlling the population of many insect pests. We are very concerned about the potential decline of bats from both an ecological and human health standpoint.”

    — communicated by: ProMED-mail promed@promedmail.org

    [Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. The state boundary line bisects the park, which is one of the largest in the eastern United States. A map of the park is available at http://www.nps.gov/PWR/customcf/apps/maps/showmap.cfm?alphacod
    tains%20National%20Park The state of Tennessee can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at http://healthmap.org/r/01dA – Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ

    Photos: Gray bat (_Myotis grisescens_) http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com/view.php?tid=3&did=18608
    and http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com/view.php?tid=2&did=12266

    Indiana bat (_Myotis sodalis_) http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/resources/usfws/indianabat.jpg/medium.jpg and http://endangered.nothingbut830.com/images/Indiana%20Bat.jpg

    Little brown bat (_Myotis lucifugus_) http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/resources/p
    hil_myers/ADW_mammals/Chiroptera/luci.jpg/view.html and http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/mmd/aml/Bat%20lis
    t/images/LittleBrownBat_Myotislucifugus.jpg – Mod.TG

    Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my “Emerging Diseases” message board at:http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also my new website: http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/ Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health

    Source: http://www.rense.com/general90/whitenose.htm

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