White-Nose Bat Syndrome Spreads to Maryland
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Bat disease spreads
White-nose syndrome, a disease that has decimated bat populations across the East Coast, appears to have spread to bats in Maryland, state wildlife officials said Wednesday.
Officials said they found several dead bats in a cave in western Maryland’s Allegany County on Friday, as well as more than 200 other bats that appeared “visibly affected” by the disease.
If the diagnosis is confirmed, the state said, this would be the first time white-nose syndrome has been found in Maryland.
The disease, in which bats develop a white fungus along their muzzles, is harmless to humans. Many infected bats die. The disease has spread to 10 states since it appeared in 2006.
State officials said that the disease might be spread by spelunkers and that people should stay out of caves in affected states.
— David A. Fahrenthold