A rare illness that causes deaths in bats is spreading fast in Washington State.
A fungal infection that has managed to wipe out millions of bats has spread to Washington State. This is the very first time that white-nose syndrome has visited the Western United States in such epidemic proportions.
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As for the havoc it seems to have wreaked in the bats’ lives, it is simply monumental. Federal wildlife authorities announced the arrival of the pandemic on Thursday. After a single bat was tested many miles off Seattle, the disease was confirmed to have hit the territory of the United States.
People and other animals are immune to the disease. However, bats are vulnerable to its ravaging effects. Bats are not useless beasts. They play an important role in the ecosystem.
Not only do they eat pests and other insects that are a general nuisance to farmers’ crops, they also consume mosquitoes which are vectors for both human beings and animals.
This bat-killing disease is cause for concern. Nobody wants the food webs turning topsy turvy. To top it all, this fungal infection has spread like wildfire in the region leading to further worry and anxiety among the inhabitants.
According to Oregonlive, over 6 million bats that were in the hibernation process in 28 states have died out thanks to this deadly disease. Five Canadian provinces could be included in the loci of eco-damage.
The disease was identified a decade ago in the Big Apple. Before this, it had been only known within the limits of Minnesota. One of the officials spoke of how they had been getting ready for such a pandemic.
It was a foregone conclusion. One bat has been tested for the disease and been found to be positive. The rest must be infected as well.
This bat is a little brown bat and is one of seven species that are supposed to be suffering from the disease. What is not known with clarity is where exactly this novel disease came from and how long it has been extant in the region.
Also the exact number of bats that are infected remains a mystery. State officials have requested hikers and tourists to report any dead or sick bats to the concerned authorities.
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In this strange disease a white peach fuzz appears on the noses of the bats. The illness is spread from one bat to another. Ways will have to be sought to stop the spread of this malady. Otherwise we are in for an eco-spasm.