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An Emerging Disease Causes Regional Population Collapse of a Common North American Bat Species

Science  06 Aug 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5992, pp. 679-682
DOI: 10.1126/science.1188594

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Abstract

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an emerging disease affecting hibernating bats in eastern North America that causes mass mortality and precipitous population declines in winter hibernacula. First discovered in 2006 in New York State, WNS is spreading rapidly across eastern North America and currently affects seven species. Mortality associated with WNS is causing a regional population collapse and is predicted to lead to regional extinction of the little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), previously one of the most common bat species in North America. Novel diseases can have serious impacts on naïve wildlife populations, which in turn can have substantial impacts on ecosystem integrity.

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