Science organization says human long-distance transmission is possible
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The unchecked spread of white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across eastern North America, has prompted a prominent scientific group to call for greater efforts to halt the potential for human spread of the disease.
Closing caves could help prevent a human-transmitted long-distance jump of the disease into a new region, such as the Rockies or the Pacific Northwest, where the disease could push more species to the brink of extinction.
Hoping to prevent the westward spread of a deadly bat disease, the U.S. Forest Service last week extended a general closure for caves on national forest lands in the Rocky Mountain region (Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas) for another year.
The agency tweaked the closure slightly to rovide exemptions to active members of the National Speleological Society and Cave Research Foundation for activities consistent with national agreements with both organizations.
“Our priority is to protect bat species and habitat from the westward spread of WNS, a deadly disease that has killed 5.5 million bats since 2006,” said Daniel Jirón, regional forester, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. “The fungus has not yet been detected within the five-state Rocky Mountain Region and we are taking an aggressive approach to minimizing the risk of humans inadvertently introducing the fungus into our caves and abandoned mines,” Jiron said. Continue reading “Forest Service extends cave closure to protect bats”→
Scientists still grappling with spread of deadly white nose syndrome
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Caves and abandoned mines on national forest lands in the Rocky Mountain region will be closed for another year as biologists try to pinpoint risks to bat populations.
The Forest Service closed access to the caves a year ago as a preventive measure to stop the potential spread of white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed at least 1 million bats in the eastern part of the country since it was detected in New York 2006.