White-Nose Syndrome Confirmed in Illinois Bats
Illinois Becomes 20th State in U.S. to Confirm Deadly Disease in Bats
By Georgia Parham
In late February, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced that White-nose Syndrome has been confirmed in four Illinois counties.
Illinois is the 20th state to confirm the disease, which has killed an estimated 5.7 million bats. The disease was detected in LaSalle County, in north-central Illinois, Monroe County, in southwestern Illinois, and Hardin and Pope Counties, in extreme southern Illinois.
According to the Illinois DNR, little brown bats and northern long-eared bats from these counties were tested in early-to-mid February 2013.
WNS is known to be transmitted primarily from bat-to-bat, but spores of Geomyces destructans, the non-native, cold-loving fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, may be inadvertently carried between caves and abandoned mines by humans on clothing, footwear, and caving gear.
White-nose syndrome was first detected in New York State in 2006 and has killed more than 5.7 million cave-dwelling bats in the eastern third of North America as it has spread south and west across the landscape.