Monday, July 26, 2010

WHITE NOSE SYNDROME, BATS - USA (12): CONTROL

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International Society for Infectious Diseases


Date: Sat 24 Jul 2010
Source: The Statesman, Bloomberg News report [edited]



Hikers may be locked out of hundreds of caves and 30 000 abandoned
mines in the West and Midwest in a government plan to protect bats
from man.

The cave closings may come within the week, said Forest Service
spokeswoman Janelle Smith, and are the latest efforts to combat a
disease called white nose syndrome that has devastated bat communities
in 13 states and 2 Canadian provinces. The disease, perhaps caused by
a fungus, may spread to more states as hikers and tourists
inadvertently carry spores on their clothing, Smith said.

The loss of swaths of the bat population may threaten corn and soybean
crops and other parts of the agriculture and timber industries, said
Mollie Matteson, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological
Diversity in Tucson, Arizona. Bats help control insect pests, eating
as much as two-thirds of their body weight per night, said Holly Ober,
assistant professor at the University of Florida in Quincy, Florida,
in a 2008 Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation document.

"It's a catastrophic situation for bats," said Jeremy Coleman, a
biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service who studies white nose
syndrome in Cortland, New York. "We don't have any tools at our ready
to treat them or to control the spread, other than closing access to
humans," he said. "There are just too many unknowns," Coleman said.

The big brown bat, a species widely distributed in North America,
feasts on insects that destroy corn, soybean, and cotton crops,
according to the report by Ober.

The fungus thought to cause the disease was first detected in New York
in 2006 and may have killed more than 1 million bats, according to a
May [2010] report from the Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency
called the disease "the worst wildlife health crisis in memory."

The disease only affects hibernating bat species, which account for a
little over half of the 45 varieties in North America, said Matteson.
So far 9 species, including the big brown bat, are known to be
affected. Some of them are now threatened with extinction, the May
report said.

In a May [2010] news release, Austin-based Bat Conservation
International said the potential impact of white nose syndrome on the
local Mexican free-tail colony was still not known. "These bats share
their winter and summer ranges with many hibernating species," the
group said. "Biologists fear that migrating free-tails, even if they
are not themselves battered by the disease, may prove to be carriers
that spread the fungus."

[Byline: Arielle Fridson]

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail


[In addition to the suffering of bats caused by this syndrome, which
essentially starves bats to death, this disease is also very
concerning because of its impact on ecosystem health. Bats eat a
tremendous number of insects such as mosquitoes, moths, beetles, and
flies, which help to control insect populations naturally in a
sustainable fashion. However, with the loss of over a million bats in
North America since the disease first surfaced in 2006 and the
prospect of further spread to other states and/or provinces, control
measures such as preventing human traffic in bat caves are being
considered and in some places apparently instituted.

The white nose syndrome is named for the white appearance on the nose
and muzzle of hibernating bats that appears when they are infected
with a fungus, _Geomyces destructans_.

Further details of the disease and a map of infected areas as of July
2009 can be found at the Wildlife National Health Center, United
States Geological Service (USGS) website at
-
Mod.PC]

[The fungus is often not confined to the muzzle but may spread to the
wings and all over the body. It depletes the bats' body fat and
awakens them so that they get hungry, fly out of their caves looking
for insects and, not finding any, starve to death. See images at:


- Mod.JW]

[see also:
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (11) 20100617.2033
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (10): (OK) 20100525.1732
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (09): (OK, MO) 20100518.1635
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (08): (TN) 20100518.1630
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (07): (DE) 20100502.1421
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (06): (MO, TN) 20100422.1300
White nose syndrome bats - USA (05): (NY) poss. treatment 20100325.0949
White nose syndrome - Canada: (ON) 1st report 20100322.0905
White nose syndrome bats - USA (04): (MD) 20100321.0896
White nose syndrome bats - USA (03): (WV) 20100225.0626
White nose syndrome bats - USA (02): (TN) 20100219.0570
White nose syndrome, bats - USA: (VT) 20100209.0438
2009
----
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (14) 20091014.3538
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (13): (NJ) 20090712.2495
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (12) 20090510.1750
White nose syndrome, bats - USA (11) 20090510.1743
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (10): cave closings 20090507.1703
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (09): (VA) susp. 20090427.1590
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (08): (MA) 20090414.1413
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (07) 20090320.1110
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (06): (PA) RFI 20090311.1011
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (05): (PA) 20090309.0975
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (04): (PA) 20090306.0931
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (03): (WV) susp 20090220.0711
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (02): (northeast) 20090208.0578
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA: (Northeast) 20090129.0401
2008
----
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (07): (Northeast) 20081102.3448
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (06): (Northeast) 20080331.1195
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (05): (Northeast) 20080304.0898
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (04): (Northeast) 20080304.0880
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (03): 2004 Dorset bat colony gate
20080221.0709
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA (02): (Northeast) 20080220.0687
White-nose syndrome, bats - USA: (Northeast) 20080219.0675]
........................................sb/pc/mj/jw
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