FRANKLIN COUNTY, MO (KMOX) – A disease that is up to 99 percent fatal in bats has turned up in a pair of local counties.
Tony Elliott, a biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said cases of white-nose syndrome have been discovered on bats in Franklin and Washington Counties, bringing to four the number of Missouri counties with confirmed cases of the syndrome.
“During the winter, when this disease is affecting bats, it causes them to starve to death. They use up all of their fat reserves that are necessary to make it through the winter,” he explained.
The syndrome affects the bats while they are hibernating in caves. In an attempt to prevent it from spreading further, three public caves in those two counties have been closed to the public but officials are not identifying the caves by name to prevent the bats from being disturbed. White nose syndrome can be inadvertently carried by humans through their clothes, shoes or caving gear.