Bat killer fungus spreading fast in Northeast

An incurable fungus is liable of killing large number of little brown bats in the Northeast region of US. Till date the disease has been confirmed in 40 sites of Northeast.

The little brown bat (Myotis Iucifugus), is a northern species of wide distribution and may be the most abundant bat in the United States. It ranges from the coast of Labrador across the Northwest Territories and central Yukon to Alaska.

The fungal disease commonly known as white - nose syndroms is killing hundreds of thousands bats, it is estimated that already 90% bats died. The fungus can be identified by discoloured white smudges on the nose and wings of the hibernating bats.

Because insects are not available as food during winter, temperate-zone bats survive by either migrating to warmer regions where insects are available, or by hibernating. Hibernation is a state of torpor (inactivity) during which normal metabolic activities are greatly reduced. Body temperature is reduced and heart-rate is slowed. A hibernating bat can thus survive on only a few grams of stored fat during the approximately five-to-six month hibernation period. Bats usually lose from ¼ to ½ their body weight during hibernation.

Bats with white-nose syndrome burn through their fat stores quickly and much before spring, which force them  to rouse early from hibernation in have to start a futile search for food.  Thus most of them die as they hunt fruitlessly for insects.

This deadly disease was discovered almost two years ago, since then it is spreading fast and almost covers six US states. which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia. Due to possible infection National Speleological Society have closed John Guilday Caves in West Virginia as a precautionary measure.

Cause of concerns:
a) It is spreading so fast that expert fears it may kill most of the bats before they could be able to find out any solution.

b) Bats being an ecological important animal, declination of the population will certainly create an adverse effect on ecology, the insects and crop pests they eat could flourish.

Cause of relief:
White-nose syndrome poses no health threat to human.

However, Researchers are trying hard to solve the situation, they also looking at the possibility of a fungicide or even fungus-killing bacteria that could spread from bat to bat.  Meanwhile New York state&aposs wildlife pathologist, Ward Stone, claimed that he has been able to culture bacteria that live on big brown bats and kill the white-nose fungus in a lab.

Source:Zeenews

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