Deadly bat disease confirmed in Arkansas

Deadly bat disease confirmed in Arkansas

White-nose syndrome confirmed in Arkansas

Arkansas becomes 23rd state to confirm deadly disease in bats

YELLVILLE – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome, a disease fatal to several bat species, in Arkansas. The disease was documented in two northern long-eared bats found at a cave on natural area managed by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission in Marion County.

White-nose syndrome is thought to be transmitted primarily from bat to bat or substrate to bat, but fungal spores may be inadvertently carried to caves by humans on clothing, boots and equipment. The syndrome is not known to pose a threat to humans, pets or livestock.

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 to the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center where it was confirmed both bats had the fungus. Both bats had damage to wing, ear and tail membranes consistent with white-nose syndrome.

Researchers returned to the cave a week after their initial survey and found 116 endangered Ozark big-eared bats, 15 northern long-eared bats and 30 tricolored bats in the cave. No visible signs of WNS were seen on these bats. 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.

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