Researchers have found that the organism that causes deadly white-nose syndrome persists in caves long after it has killed the bats in those caves.
A study just published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology shows that the fungus can survive in soil for months, even years, after the bats have departed.
This is not good news for the bat population, says lead author Jeff Lorch, a research associate in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "We have found that caves and mines, which remain cool year-round, can serve as reservoirs for the fungus, so bats entering previously infected sites may contract white-nose syndrome from that environment. This represents an important and adverse transmission route."
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