White-Nose Syndrome found in Minnesota Bats

Officials have confirmed the presence of a disease that kills hibernating bats at a state park in Northern Minnesota. 

The Department of Natural Resources says hundreds of bats have been found dead near the mine entrance at Lake Vermillion-Soudan Underground mine State Park since late January.  

Tests confirm the bats were infected with white-nose syndrome. 

The disease is named for the fuzzy white growth of fungus observed on infected bats. 

In 2014, the fungus that causes the WNS disease was discovered at Soudan Undderground Mine and at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in southeastern Minnesota.  

DNR officials say it is typical for disease symptoms to appear two to three years after the discovery of the fungus. 

The disease is primarily transmitted from bat to bat, however, people can inadvertently carry fungal spores to other caves on clothing and caving gear. 

Since 2007, the disease has spread to 28 states and five provinces, killing more than 5.7 million bats. 

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