MONDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2011 . This means that bats with WNS use up their fat reserves prematurely and die before their food sources become available. In some colonies the mortality rate has been as high as 95%. Treatment of infected bats, as well as monitoring the spread of the disease and understanding its transmission, will be vital to saving vulnerable species.
In North America, the bat species so-far affected include the endangered gray bat (Myotis grisescens), the little brown bat (M. lucifugus) and northern long-eared bat (M. septentrionalis) among others. The disease has caused unprecedented reductions in the abundance of hibernating species and it is estimated that about one million bats have died from WNS. G. destructans infections have also been found in European bats but so far there have been no reported mortalities.
Written by Robert Jones