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Science. 2009 Jan 9;323(5911):227. doi: 10.1126/science.1163874. Epub 2008 Oct 30.

Bat white-nose syndrome: an emerging fungal pathogen?

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  • 1National Wildlife Health Center, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 6006 Schroeder Road, Madison, WI 53711, USA.


White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a condition associated with an unprecedented bat mortality event in the northeastern United States. Since the winter of 2006*2007, bat declines exceeding 75% have been observed at surveyed hibernacula. Affected bats often present with visually striking white fungal growth on their muzzles, ears, and/or wing membranes. Direct microscopy and culture analyses demonstrated that the skin of WNS-affected bats is colonized by a psychrophilic fungus that is phylogenetically related to Geomyces spp. but with a conidial morphology distinct from characterized members of this genus. This report characterizes the cutaneous fungal infection associated with WNS.

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