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Bat Research Community Mystified Over White Nose Syndrome

A few weeks ago White Nose Syndrome was confirmed in Indiana bats for the first time. Researchers across the country are mystified about the spread of the deadly disease.

Even though researchers knew White Nose Syndrome was eventually going to hit Indiana, Laura Hohman from the Indiana State University Bat Center still took the news hard.

“It was devastating news, even when you’re prepared for something bad to happen, it’s still devastating when it actually happens, we knew that White Nose Syndrome was spreading through the U.S.”

Hohman said a bat in a southern Indiana cave tested positive for the fungus that causes the disease and is blamed for the deaths of more than one-million bats throughout the country.

“Right now understanding is key because we don’t understand what’s going on, we can’t do anything to make the situation better.”

Bats provide insect control. Hohman worries less bats might mean more insects and more pesticide use, which is why area researchers are doing what they can to combat the disease.

“There’s been this big push in the bat research community for everyone to share research and collaborate so we can deal with the problem.”

DNR officials will continue to keep all of their caves closed, and urge private cave owners to do the same or require visitors to follow special decontamination procedures in an attempt to limit the spread of White Nose Syndrome.

For information on the Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation’s White-Nose Syndrome Fund, go to ISU Bat Center.

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