1/17/2012: The US Fish & WIldlife Service biologists and partners estimate that at least 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats have now died from white-nose syndrome. Biologists expect the disease to continue to spread. This number signifigantly exceeds previous estimates and is the result of many groups working together for the first time under the USFWS' "National Plan for Assisting States, Federal Agencies and Tribes in Managing White-Nose Syndrome in Bats," which was instituted in the spring of 2011. Seehttp://www.fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome/pdf/WNS_Mortality_2012_NR_FINAL.pdf. However, the National Speleological Society is questioning this estimate and asking for the USFWS to verify their estimation methods, see: http://caves.org/WNS/index.htm.
1/30/2012:Histopathology studies on Greater Mouse-Eared Bats found dead in Europe in 2010 have confirmed that the bats died due to infection with White Nose Syndrome. The bats were found in the Czech Republic’s Stara Dratenicka cave in March 2010 and five more, found 12 days later in nearby Bycı skala cave. Another was also found dead in 2011, also with localized areas of dense hyphae, on the muzzle and wings, with a discrete interface where the fungus forms cup-shaped erosions, typical of how WNS infects US infected bats. This means that WNS may cause sporadic deaths of European bats. Though mortality rates have not yet affected long-term population sizes, the discovery that European bats are not immune to the deadly aspects of WNS suggests that perhaps given the "right" stimulus, WNS deaths could spread as they have in the US. Might bats, very environmentally sensitive animals, be a "canary in the cold mine" for environmental changes that lower immunity? See:
3/20/2012: Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Tennessee) & Arcadia National Park (Maine) confirm presence if WNS for first time A Tricolored Bat and a Little Brown Bat have tested positive for WNS in Great Smoky Mountains NP. The spread of this disease to the area occurred despite 2009 precautions put in place that closed all 16 park caves and 2 mining complexes withing the park. Park caves will continue to remain closed to human access to minimize the chances of spreading the disease to other areas. Great Smoky Mountains is home to eleven bat species and the largest hibernating population of the endangered Indiana bat in the state of Tennessee. Of the eleven known species that reside in the park, at least six of them that hibernate in park caves and mines are susceptible to WNS. In Arcadia NP an official states that "Coastal environments were not thought to have bats in winter and seemed insulated from areas where white-nose syndrome had been found," and states that "Losing even a small percentage of Maine's bats could have a devastating effect on one of nature’s ecological controls of forest and wetland insects." Park officials remind us: "Do not enter caves or mines anywhere during the winter hibernation months (November – April) or attics during the summer maternity months(June through late July). Disturbing bats during hibernation or in maternal roosts can cause bats to use limited energy reserves and could cause mortality in bats that may already be diseased or stressed. [...] If you have bats roosting in structures, allow them to rear their pups and exit the structure at the end of the summer before closing off any entrance holes. Before the following summer, install bat houses to provide bats with a roosting alternative.
3/29/2012: WNS confirmed in Missouri Click here for details.
4/2/2012: White-nose syndrome detected in Delaware bats Click here for press release
4/6/2012: Service awards $1.4 million in grants for research and management of white-nose syndrome in bats The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced seven grant awards totaling approximately $1.4 million to continue the investigation of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats, and to identify ways to manage it. Click here for more information See http://www.fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome/index.html for more information on grants and new decontamination protocols
5/29/12:WNS confirmed in endangered Gray Bats The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome in federally listed endangered gray bats (Myotis grisecens) in Hawkins and Montgomery counties in Tennessee. Click here for more information.
8/1/12:U.S. Forest Service Extends Closure of Abandoned Mines and Caves in Rocky Mountain Region Regional Forester Daniel Jirón signed an extension to an emergency order today to restrict access to all caves and abandoned mines on National Forests and Grasslands in the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service (Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas). The intent of the closure is to minimize the risk of the human spread of the fungus (Geomyces destructans) that causes White-nose Syndrome. See, News Release (pdf, August 1, 2012)
8/11/12:Pennsylvania Game Commission seeks public comment on proposed protection for three bat species- Little Brown Bat, Northern Long Eared Bat, Tri-colored/Eastern pipistrelle "Comparative pre- and post-WNS hibernacula surveys show a 99% decline in little brown bats in these hibernacula since 2008. Summer mist-netting in 2011 showed a 463% increase in effort was required to capture this species as compared to pre-WNS". See.http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol42/42-32/1555.html
9/25/12:The Nature Conservancy completes artificial bat cave in Tennessee The Nature Conservancy says it has completed an artificial cave in Tennessee that should provide a safe refuge from White-nose Syndrome for as many as 250,000 hibernating bats. The subterranean structure, built of precast concrete culverts and covered with soil, will be disinfected each summer after the bats leave. The 78-foot-long cave was completed September 11, and the Conservancy is hoping the first bats will move in this fall and winter. Click here to see article in the NY Times
11/15/12:Bats recovering from WNS fight additional cause of mortality The authors propose that the sudden restoration of immune responses in bats infected with G. destructans results in an inflammatory dysregulated immune response that causes the post-emergent pathology: * Meteyer, C.U. et al. (2012), “Pathology in euthermic bats with white nose syndrome suggests a natural manifestation of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome,” Virulence 3(7): 1-6. Click here for abstract. * USGS, "White-nose Syndrome Bat Recovery May Present Similarities to Some Recovering AIDS Patients", Click here to see this press release.
1/16/13: White-Nose Syndrome Confirmed in Mammoth Cave National Park Bats, south central Kentucky Click here for full press release.
1/10/13: White-Nose Syndrome Fungus Persists in Caves Even When Bats are Gone Research conducted by the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and collaborating partners at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and U.S. Forest Service have discovered that Geomyces destructans can survive in the environment for long periods of time. See here.
1/25/13: White-Nose Syndrome confirmed in bat at Onondaga Cave, Missouri Click here for details.
2/10/13: WNS found in Cumberland Park National Historical Park, Virginia With the discovery of WNS at Cumberland Gap NHP, the disease has now been observed in all the major mountain drainages of Virginia. Federal and state agencies from Virginia, Kentucky & Tennessee (the park is located in all 3 states, but most caves are in the VA section) as well as universities and non-government organizations have been tracking WNS in the area since it was first observed in VA in 2009. Virginia's focus is now on determining the impacts of WNS on the different cave bat species and determining if individuals can persist over time in the face of infection. Six species of cave-dwelling bats are found at Cumberland Gap NHP including the endangered Indiana bat, and are all at risk from WNS. Three species of tree-dwelling bats are also found in the park; it is unknown whether the fungus can or will move to these more arboreal bats. Click here for more information.
An Eastern Pipistrelle, also known as a Tri Colored Bat, shows signs of WNS in VA 2/27/13: WNS discovered on Prince Edward Island, Canada, number of Canadian Provinces effected is now up to 6 There have been reports of 10 locations across the province with WNS. Click here for more information.
2/28/13: WNS enters Illinois Little brown bats and northern long-eared bats have been found with WNS in LaSalle County in north-central Illinois, Monroe County in southwestern Illinois, and Hardin and Pope Counties in extreme southern Illinois. A total of 20 states have now been found to be infected with WNS. Click here for more information.
3/11/13: WNS confirmed for first time in South Carolina, bringing number of states infected to 21 WNS has been confirmed in a Tri-Colored Bat in Table Rock State Park. This bat colony is in a remote portion of the park not accessible to the public. “The news that white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in South Carolina is devastating for these very important mammals,” says one official. Click here for details.
3/12/13: 1st WNS cases in Georgia Tri-colored (aka, Easern Pipistrelle) bats found in Lookout Mountain Cave at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and n Sittons Cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park have tested positive for White Nose Syndrome. Though only 15 bats were found with visible symptoms in the former location, about 1/3 of 1600 bats in hte latter location showed signs of the disease. Georgia has 16 species of bats. Of nine species confirmed susceptible to WNS, eight are found in Georgia. "Two, the Indiana and gray bats, are federally endangered species. One, the small-footed myotis, is state-listed as a species of concern". The NPS closed all caves to the public at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in 2009 to reduce the chance of importation of the white-nose pathogen. Caves will remain closed to minimize the risk of spreading the disease. Click here for more information.
4/8/13: WNS confirmed in Alabama WNS has been confirmed in the Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Jackson County, Alabama. This locale provides winter hibernation habitat for several bat species, and contains the largest documented wintering colony of federally listed endangered gray bats, with over one million gray bats hibernating there. The disease was confirmed in tri-colored bats that were collected at two entrances to the cave. No visible fungal growth was observed on hibernating gray bats during these winter surveys but lab testing detected the presence of fungal DNA on swabs submitted from several live gray bats. This is a reminder that the fungus is NOT always visible on infected bats. The disease is not currently known to cause mortality in gray bats, and the potential impact of WNS on gray bat populations is still unknown.
4/18/13:WNS found in additional areas in NW Alabama The fast-spreading fungus that causes the deadly white-nose syndrome in bats has been found in Collier Cave in northwestern Alabama on property managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
summer 2013: Hope in the battle against WNS An article by researcher Chris Cornelison in Bat Conservation International's BATS Magazine discusses work on a bacteria, Rhodococcus rhodochrousthat inhibits the fungus.
1/29/14: Arkansas becomes 23rd state to confirm deadly disease in bats After finding the fungus in AK caves in the summer of 2013, WNS has now been documented in two northern long-eared bats found at a cave on natural area managed by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission in Marion County. A total of five dead bats were found during a Jan. 11 survey of the Marion County cave. Two of the bats were collected and submitted for testing that confirmed WNS. Both bats had damage to wing, ear and tail membranes consistent with the disease. The cave is used by endangered Ozark big-eared bats, Northern long-eared bats and Tricolored bats. Though the fungus was not seen on these species at this location, WNS is known to impact both Northern long-eared bats and Tricolored bats, but has not yet been known to harm Ozark big-eared bats. During the winter of 2012-13 an estimated 220 Ozark big-eared bats hibernated in Arkansas caves. NB: In March 2010, the AGFC closed all caves on AGFC land and Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission natural areas/wildlife management areas to prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome.
5/17/14: Oklahoma removed from list of suspected bat fungus areas Though White-nose syndrome is spreading throughout the country and being found in additional areas in already infected states, some good news is that Oklahoma re-tested bats from 2010 and found that they did NOT have the fungus. Scientists have also removed the Cave Myotis (Myotis velifer) from the list of bat species that have tested positive for the fungus.