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What can be done so that next summer is less buggy? Build a bat box! Scientists are not sure how the disease spreads but believe that smaller hibernation sites could help the spread of this disease.
Fish and Wildlife Service Drafts Plan on White Nose Syndrome
In response to calls from the Center for Biological Diversity, dozens of other conservation organizations, scientists and members of Congress, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has drafted a plan to respond to white-nose syndrome, a disease that has been killing millions of bats in the eastern United States over the past three winters.
Earlier this month, the Center for Biological Diversity sent a letter to the agency’s director, pleading for faster, more coordinated action on the die-off, which scientists believe could cause the extinction of several bat species within a few years.
White-nose syndrome has wiped out an estimated 1.5 million bats and reduced populations of bats in some areas by 90 to 100 percent. It has rapidly spread from the Albany, New York area, where it first appeared in caves in the winter of 2006-07, to a total of nine states from New Hampshire to West Virginia. It is expected to show up in bat caves this winter in Kentucky, Tennessee, and other mid-western and southern states, and biologists think it may reach the West Coast within two to three years.
“White-nose syndrome is like a house on fire,” says Mollie Matteson, a wildlife biologist and conservation advocate in the Center for Biological Diversity’s Northeast office. “People have been throwing buckets of water on it, and calling 911, but it’s taken a long time for the fire trucks to get there. We’re grateful, but we hope it’s not too late.”
The response to the swiftly spreading bat illness has been hampered by lack of resources and coordination among the growing number of state and federal agencies, research institutions, cave owners and managers, and others pulled into the crisis. Common myths and prejudices about bats have also posed a challenge for those advocating for faster action. But bats provide vital services to humans by eating enormous quantities of insects, and keeping potentially troublesome insect pests in check. In some parts of the country, bats play an important role in pollination.
This spring and summer, concerned members of Congress did host three hearings on the syndrome, but the House did not approve any additional funding for it, and the Senate appropriated only $500,000 for monitoring. Biologists outside the Fish and Wildlife Service have stated that a minimum of $5 million was needed just to address the current extent of the crisis and more would be needed as the illness spread.
Candidiasis (the disease that you get when the numbers of candida albicans build up in your body and cause various health problems) can be a devastating problem indeed it has been called a "killer disease". Candida problems were virtually unheard of before 1940 since then however an overgrowth of the yeast candida albicans has become a common problem in the United States. It is estimated that between 30 to 80 percent of the American populace has a mild to severe candida overgrowth. Other world reports have suggested that as many as 80 to 90% of people suffer from candida related problems.
Originally posted by Tadarida
...unfortunately they have gotten a really unfounded and bad reputation from the horror film genre.
....it is all but ignored by the media.
Originally posted by Larryman
The die-off may be further along than authorities think. An ATS member posted in another thread ("What's shaking the skies of the North West?" - page 12) that there is a noticible absence of bats along the west coast of U.S.
By the end of the next year, nearly 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s hibernating bat species are expected to die!
Swooping through the crisp night air, and scooping up small insects. The Pennsylvania’s hibernating bat species may have entered caves, attics, and abandoned mines to hibernate for the last time.
A pandemic has broken out and by the end of the next year, nearly 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s hibernating bat species are expected to die, according to Wildlife Biologist Greg Turner with the Wildlife Diversity Section of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
"What we saw was bat soup."
Thomas Kunz emerges from Aeolus cave in East Dorset, Vermont, with a half-dozen metal ID bands -- smaller than SpaghettiOs -- cupped in the palm of his latex-gloved hand. They’re tiny emblems of death, having once been affixed to the forearms of little brown bats.
The renowned bat biologist from Boston University, who bears a passing resemblance to Harrison Ford, minutes earlier had recovered the bands while trudging, like a real-life Indiana Jones, through a slippery mud-like ooze of rotting bat carcasses, liquefied internal organs, toothpick-sized bones, piles of guano, and a strange white fungus on the cave floor.
If bats had come out of hell, it couldn’t have been worse than this.
“What we saw was bat soup. There were a lot of bones of wings and skulls and emulsified bodies,” Kunz says. “There were dead bats -- decomposing bats -- hanging from the walls of the cave.
The mass deaths are difficult to quantify because wild bats are almost impossible to count, but to scientists monitoring hibernation sites, serious declines are as undeniable as they are unprecedented. Population counts at two dozen small winter colonies in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont show they have plummeted from 48,626 bats to 2,695 -- an average 94.5 percent decline -- since the outbreak began.
Feds alert States for bat disease
Federal wildlife officials hoping to check the spread of a disease killing hibernating bats in Eastern states are recommending steps that states farther west should take if "white-nose syndrome" strikes.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent recommendations to state and federal land management agencies in about two dozen states Friday outlining precautions for hibernation caves or mines hit by white-nose. They recommend closing affected caves, with a possible exception for researchers. They also recommend research-only access for caves within 75 miles of an affected site.
Wildlife officials are expanding their attention to areas more than 250 miles from caves where white-nose has been detected. That includes all or part of Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama.
"What we're trying to prevent is a new epicenter cropping up in Illinois or Indiana or Wisconsin," said Jeremy Coleman, who is tracking the disorder for the Fish and Wildlife Service office in Cortland, N.Y.
White-nose has been confirmed in nine states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia.
According to the article, "White-nose Syndrome Fungus (Geomyces destructans) in Bat, France", (*.pdf) ...
...French bat found and described in the article, however, did not exhibit the typical weight loss characteristic of the disease and was found alive, examined and released.
Genetic studies have shown that the fungus in France is the same as the one affecting bats in the northeastern United States. Ongoing studies are trying to determine whether the fungus is actually the whole cause of bat death, or if the fungus infection is only contracted by bats weakened by some other, perhaps primary, viral disease. Ongoing research is studying the validity of the following possible scenarios:
* The fungus and disease is new to Europe and therefore all bats in Europe are now at risk for infection, especially due to the fact that bats are known to migrate long distances--potentially spreading the disease rapidly.
* The fungus is not new, but European bats have been largely immune in the past.
* The disease is only a symptom of a compromised immune system of bats weakened by some other, yet undetermined, pathogen.
Although only one bat in France was found with WNS as yet, scientists in both countries believe that they need to "understand, monitor, and control progression of white-nose syndrome."
The die-off of bats across the Northeastern states is now so severe that federal wildlife officials consider it "the most precipitous decline of North American wildlife caused by infectious disease in recorded history."
White-Nose Syndrome was first documented in a cave that is visited by tens of thousands of tourists each year, and the disease has since spread outward from that site.
Researchers in Europe have long noticed similar fungal growth on the faces, ears, and wings of hibernating bats in Europe, but observed no associated mortality. Efforts are currently underway to assess whether there is any connection between fungi seen on bats in North America and Europe. An alternative hypothesis for the origin of White-Nose Syndrome is that this fungus was already present in North America, yet recently mutated to become an emerging disease.
Fungal infiltration of the wing membranes of bats may be particularly problematic. Wing membranes represent about 85% of a bat’s total surface area and play a critical role in balancing complex physiological processes. Healthy wing membranes are vital to bats, as they help regulate body temperature, blood pressure, water balance, and gas exchange—not to mention the ability to fly and to feed. Although White-Nose Syndrome was named after the obvious sign of white noses on affected bats, bat wings may indeed be the most vulnerable point of infection.
Emergency Petitions Filed to Close Caves and Save Bats From Extinction
The Center for Biological Diversity today filed two emergency petitions with the federal government in an effort to stop the spread of a deadly bat disease and step up government action to save two rare bat species from extinction. The first petition asks federal agencies to close all caves under their jurisdiction and asks Interior Secretary Salazar to pass regulations banning travel between caves under any jurisdiction. The second petition asks for the eastern small-footed bat and the northern long-eared bat, both hit hard by the newly emergent disease known as white-nose syndrome, to be protected as endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act.
“White-nose syndrome has decimated bats in the Northeast and is quickly spreading to other regions,” said Mollie Matteson, a conservation advocate with the Center. “Our government needs to increase its response by an order of magnitude to offer any hope for bats in the eastern United States and to ensure that the disease does not spread across the country.”
The Center’s actions come as scientists and wildlife agencies brace themselves for a fourth winter of bat deaths across the eastern United States. Since white-nose syndrome was first documented in caves in the Albany, New York area in early 2007, the disease – since confirmed as a previously unknown fungus – has spread to bat populations in a total of nine states. Biologists believe it will show up in new areas this winter, and may reach some of the densest and most diverse bat populations in the world, in the South and Midwest, within the next year or two. Thus far, over a million bats are dead from the syndrome.
“This is the worst wildlife catastrophe the country has seen since the extinction of the passenger pigeon,” said Matteson. “Bats eat millions of insects every year, meaning their loss could have far-reaching consequences for people and for crops.”
The Center is requesting that the secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense close all bat-inhabited caves and mines on federal lands throughout the continental United States to prevent the possible human transmission of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome and to ban travel between caves with bats under any jurisdiction. Scientists suspect that people are partially responsible for the fungus’ spread and may even have introduced it to North America. A recent genetic analysis of a white fungus found on a bat in France confirmed that it is identical to the disease-causing fungus in the United States. However, European bats do not appear to become ill from the fungus.
“Without aggressive efforts to secure their habitat and stem further losses from all causes, including probable human transmission of the new bat disease, these bats may soon join the sad list of American species we know only from textbooks and museums,” said Matteson.
White nose syndrome marching into U.S.
As researchers scramble to unlock the mysteries surrounding a deadly condition affecting bats, the disease continues its march into the interior of the United States.
White nose syndrome, originally found in caves in New York during the winter of 2006-2007, is now found in two Canadian provinces and about a dozen states spanning from New Hampshire south to Tennessee. Last week, the Missouri Department of Conservation announced it found the disease in a bat in that state.
Delaware environmental officials have confirmed the fungus associated with White-nose Syndrome (WNS) on bats in two locations in New Castle County.
The disease is characterized by a white fungus on the noses, wings, tails and ears of bats. The fungus thrives in cold temperatures and is seen on bats in caves and mines in the northeast, Canada and, more recently, in Tennessee and Missouri.
Delaware does not have known hibernation sites suitable for the fungus to grow; therefore WNS has not been detected here in winter. Bats typically groom the fungus off when they leave their hibernation sites at the end of the winter, making it more difficult to detect in spring and summer. However, it may still be present and affect bats after they return to their maternity colony sites, which can be many miles from their winter homes.
The bats tested – new arrivals to their summer roost sites in Delaware – had wing and ear scarring consistent with WNS and tissue samples were sent to the National Wildlife Research Center for testing. Both samples came back positive for the fungus Geomyces destructans. These were the first bats examined and officials expect it to be common and widespread.