|Bats afflicted with the fatal White Nose Syndrome |
caused by a fungus from Europe
By the Associated Press, The New York Times, April 9, 2012
The mysterious deaths of millions of bats in the United States and Canada over the past several years were caused by a fungus from Europe, scientists reported Monday. Experts had suspected that an invasive species was to blame for the deaths, which were caused by white nose syndrome. Now there is direct evidence that the culprit was not native to North America. More than 5.7 million bats have died since 2006 when white nose syndrome was first detected in a cave in upstate New York. The disease does not pose a threat to humans, but people can carry fungal spores. The fungus may have accidentally been introduced by tourists from Europe. The findings were reported online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.