White-nose syndrome has made its way to Colorado bats

Against a black background, the head of an Allen's big-eared bat comes into the frame from below.
Allen’s big-eared bat, courtesy of Juan Cruzado

Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed on Monday that a bat infected with white-nose syndrome was found in Colorado for the first time.

White-nose syndrome (WNS), caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, is a disease that impacts hibernating bat populationsIt spreads by direct contact from an infected bat to a healthy individual or by contact with fungal spores on various surfaces bats come in contact with, such as cave walls. Hibernating bats infected with white-nose syndrome may rouse from hibernation in an attempt to deal with the fungal infection, using important energy reserves needed to survive the winter and putting them in jeopardy of starving before winter is over.

Finding out where bats are roosting, and monitoring bat populations through Colorado Bat Watch can help experts and officials respond to WNS in Colorado.

Humans may transmit WNS from infected sites to clean sites. To avoid the risk of spreading the fungus that could kill bats in Colorado’s caves and bat roosts, please clean and disinfect all gear and clothing used in Colorado caves and roosts before entering any other caves and roosts in the state. See the decontamination guidance for cavers and researchers at whitenosesyndrome.org, and the information for cavers accessing caves in National Forests here.

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