For the second time in a year, evidence of a deadly fungal disease has been found in Wisconsin bats.
The state Department of Natural Resources says it found genetic markers for white nose syndrome in a pair of bats at a privately-owned cave in Dane County. The affected bats are an eastern species that’s different from the little brown and long-eared bats that were found to have the disease last April in Grant County. More than ten of those animals were confirmed to have white nose syndrome.
The DNR says white nose syndrome causes hibernating bats to wake frequently, depleting their energy and causing them to starve and dehydrate or die of exposure before the end of winter. The infection does not affect people or other animal species.
The disease poses real concerns in Wisconsin, because bats eat large amounts of insects, protecting farm crops. White nose syndrome has killed six million bats in the eastern US and Canada since the disease was first confirmed in New York State in early 2007.