White Nose Syndrome Might Affect Agriculture

by Symptom Advice on April 23, 2012

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White Nose Syndrome is a disease killing off the North American Bat population but two bats at the Virginia Wildlife Center are on the road to recovery after coming down with what vets think were symptoms of the disease.

Meet Two and One-eleven.

They’re a pair of little brown bats that were brought into the Virginia Wildlife Center earlier this year with some disturbing symptoms.

Their wings looked like swiss cheese.

A deadly fungus, Geomyces destructans, discovered in 2006 thrives in the same temperature the bats hibernate in.

“What ends up happening is these guys get a white fungus growing on their noses and their bodies and it wakes them up just enough out of hibernation that they try to groom it off,” said Veterinary Fellow at the Virginia Wildlife Center Miranda Sadar.

This causes them to use all of the energy they stored for their hibernation cycle and many of them die as a result.

“Bats mostly eat insects in our country. And for us that’s not the only impact. our well being of, oh we have a lot of bugs in our yard but also a lot of our crops.”

Nearly 80-percent of bats on the East Coast are affected by white nose syndrome. recent studies show the disease is moving over to the west.

When that happens, it could prove disasterous for agriculture across the nation.

Despite the fact that here is no exact treatment yet, and the fungus is easily spread throughout bat colonies, the staff at the Wildlife Center have had good luck with good old fashioned tender love and care.

“What we do is we provide them with adequate nutrition. we rehydrate them, make sure that their wing membranes are kept nice and supple.”

For Two and One-eleven, it’s all panning out. They’re expected to make a full recovery and be released back into the wild this spring.

If you do happen to find a bat, you should contact the Wildlife Center and try and get it into a box. they want to save as many as possible to sustain the population.

You should also wear gloves when handling a wild bat as it may have rabies.

© Copyright 2012 WHSV / Gray Television Group, inc. All Rights Reserved.

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