According to Federal Wildlife officials, a fungal disease, white-nose Syndrome that killed millions of bats across the world has spread to Washington.
According to a trial, it was verified that a virus in one bat was found around 30 miles east of Seattle.
This disease doesn’t affect animals or people but changes sticks, which are valuable, as they eat up insects and mosquitoes that damage commercial crops and trees.
This news is a concerning one as wildlife officials say this disease spreads rapidly.
Within a decade, it has killed around six million hibernating bats in around twenty-eight states and 5 Canadian provinces.
U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s Syndrome Coordinator, Jeremy Coleman stated that they have been bracing for this kind of jump.
He added that if this disease is found in one bat, it could affect others. However, it is unclear as to how long has this fungus been present in Pacific Northwest, from where it has come and how it infects other bats.
A veterinarian with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Katherine Haman, stated that at this point they don’t know where the infected bat has spent the winter, but there is a likelihood of it being somewhere in the Central Cascades.
A sick bat was found by hikers in early March and was taken to an animal shelter, 2 days after which, it died. State Wildlife Officials have plans of monitoring the area and also urge people for reporting sick and dead bats.
The bat that was found in Washington belongs to western subspecies of the brown bat population and suggests an unlikelihood of having come from the East.
Often, bats in Washington are found in buildings, trees and crevices. The syndrome is named so, owing to the white growth that is seen on the bats’ nose. Primarily it is transmitted from bat to bat, but these fungal spores could be carried on caving gear, shoes or clothing.