Bat Disease Found in Kentucky State Parks

February 18, 2013 by   - () Comments Off on Bat Disease Found in Kentucky State Parks

A little brown bat with white-nose syndrome. The mortality rate among infected bats is as high as 95%.

A disease responsible for killing millions of bats in North America has spread to caves at two state parks in eastern Kentucky that are homes to federally endangered bats, parks officials said Friday (Feb. 15).

White-nose syndrome has been detected in caves at Carter Caves State Resort Park and Kingdom Come State Park, said state parks department spokesman Gil Lawson. Small numbers of bats have died so far from the disease, he told The Associated Press.

It’s the latest red flag in the fight to prevent the spread of the disease in Kentucky, home to large numbers of bats that hibernate in a vast network of caves.

The disease has been found in 10 Kentucky counties – Bell, Breckinridge, Carter, Christian, Edmonson, Hart, Letcher, Trigg, Warren and Wayne, Lawson said. White-nose was confirmed earlier this year at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and in one of the caves at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Diseased bats were found recently at Carter Caves in caves that are not open to the public. The three caves were closed in 2008 as part of a pre-emptive effort to stop the spread of the fungus causing the disease, Lawson said.

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