[PHOTO CREDIT: KAREN VANDERWOLF/NB MUSEUM]
Arkansas has become the 23rd state to confirm the presence of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) after 5 northern long-eared bats were found dead in January.
The fungus that causes WNS, but not the disease itself, was detected in two caves in northern Arkansas last summer. Recent research has determined that the fungus which causes WNS, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, can grow in caves in the absence of bats. This means it will be very difficult to remove the fungus from caves and any bats that enter infected caves may pick up the spores and develop WNS. Even caves that have not had bats for years still have viable fungus spores. Originally from caves in Europe, Pseudogymnoascus destructans now appears to be a permanent addition to North American cave ecosystems.