Bats with White Nose Syndrome confirmed in GA - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bats with White Nose Syndrome confirmed in GA

Posted: Updated:
A tri-colored bat shows signs of white-nose syndrome in Sitton's Cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park. Photo by Pete Pattavina/National Park Service A tri-colored bat shows signs of white-nose syndrome in Sitton's Cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park. Photo by Pete Pattavina/National Park Service

ATLANTA (WRCB) -- White nose syndrome, which has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States, has been confirmed for the first time in Georgia.
 
Wildlife officials from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that bats with white-nose syndrome were found recently at two caves in Dade County, GA.
 
About 15 tri-colored bats, with visible white-nose symptoms were found in a Lookout Mountain Cave at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in late last month.

On March 5, a group led by a Georgia DNR biologist also found tri-colored bats with visible symptoms in Sittons Cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park.
 
A bat from each northwest Georgia site was sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens. Histopathology (the microscopic study of tissue) confirmed both bats had white-nose syndrome.
 
The name describes a white fungus, Geomyces destructans, often found on the muzzles, ears and wings of infected bats. White-nose, or WNS, spreads mainly through bat-to-bat contact. There is no evidence it infects humans or other animals. But spores may be carried cave-to-cave by people on clothing or gear.
 
Other states that have had confirmed cases include:
South Carolina
Alabama
Tennessee
 
"We've been expecting the discovery of WNS in Georgia after it was confirmed in Tennessee and Alabama counties last season," said Trina Morris, DNR wildlife biologist. "Still, I don't think anyone can prepare themselves to see it for the first time."
 
DNR is urging cavers to reduce trips to Georgia caves and follow federal guidelines for disinfecting clothes and gear. Sittons Cave is currently closed to the public for the winter to prevent disturbance to hibernating bats at the site. About 15 percent of Georgia's caves are on state-managed lands.
 
The National Park Service closed all caves at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park to the public in 2009 in an attempt to reduce the chance of importation of the white-nose pathogen. Park caves will remain closed to minimize the risk of spreading the disease to other areas.
 
Researchers estimate that a third of the some 1,600 live bats seen in the cave showed signs of white-nose.
 
Bats play a critical role in ecosystems, serving as a natural pest control that saves the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year by eating insects, which can spread disease to people.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Summertime car deals: Should you lease or buy?

    Summertime car deals: Should you lease or buy?

    Friday, July 25 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:19:08 GMT
    Leasing may be the right option for some, but others may not qualify because of credit, income or other requirements. Since buying a vehicle is often the second-largest purchase a consumer makes after buying a home, it's important for consumers know what they're getting.More
    Leasing may be the right option for some, but others may not qualify because of credit, income or other requirements. Since buying a vehicle is often the second-largest purchase a consumer makes after buying a home, it's important for consumers know what they're getting.More
  • Working Together For You

    Erlanger board approves budget

    Erlanger board approves budget

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:00 PM EDT2014-07-25 18:00:29 GMT
    Erlanger Health System trustees passed what the hospital CEO is calling an “aggressive” budget for the upcoming year, which includes a 2.2 percent increase in patients.More
    Erlanger Health System trustees passed what the hospital CEO is calling an “aggressive” budget for the upcoming year, which includes a 2.2 percent increase in patients.More
  • Feds Propose Rule for Captioning Services at the Movies

    Feds Propose Rule for Captioning Services at the Movies

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:55:07 GMT
    The Justice Department is proposing a new federal rule that would require most movie theaters to provide closed captioning and audio description services for people with hearing and vision disabilities.More
    The Justice Department is proposing a new federal rule that would require most movie theaters to provide closed captioning and audio description services for people with hearing and vision disabilities.More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.