White-nose Syndrome Found in Kentucky Bats – Doesn’t Affect Humans

by Dalton Main on April 13, 2011

By Ron Smith, Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials have confirmed the first case of white-nose syndrome in bats in the commonwealth. Wildlife officials recently removed sixty of the infected animals from a cave in Trigg County.

White-nose syndrome is a fungus that affects six cave species. It’s estimated to have killed more than one million bats since 2006. State Wildlife Diversity Program Coordinator Sunni Carr says officials are taking efforts to limit the spread of WNS.

“We have put up some physical barriers to keep bats from going back into known infected sites within this cave. And, uh, just again, we want to reiterate that we’ve done a sixteen mile radius check of all known caves to verify that they were in fact clean.”

Studies show the loss of bats could affect agriculture because they eat many insects that hurt crops. There is so far no known cure for WNS. Scientists believe the fungus spreads through contact between bats and by cave explorers. White-nose does not infect humans. Officials have not released any plans to close other caves.

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