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Fatal fungal disease affecting bats confirmed in Carroll County

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White Nose Syndrome bat, photo from Illinois DNR

A disease responsible for killing millions of bats in the country has been found in Carroll County, Illinois.

White-Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that causes bats to lose their fat reserves and die of starvation, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  It gets its name because of the white growth that infected bats will often develop on their noses.

The disease has most recently been confirmed in Carroll, Adams and Pike Counties. Earlier in 2015, bats in Union, Saline, Johnson and Jackson Counties tested positive for White-Nose Syndrome. It first appeared in Illinois in 2013.

from Illinois DNR

from Illinois DNR

While it’s extremely deadly to bats, White-Nose Syndrome is not known to affect people, pets or livestock, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bats transfer the disease to each other, but it can be carried on peoples’ clothes, shoes, gear, etc. from cave to cave.

In 2010 the DNR closed several caves to the public to protect the bats.

The disease was first confirmed in the United States in 2006 when it was found in New York.