White-nose syndrome, a disease that affects insect-eating bats, is one of the most devastating wildlife diseases on record. But there may be a relatively simple way to stop it, according to new research: UV light.
A new study from a team of scientists from U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of New Hampshire has found that the fungus is highly sensitive to UV light. Only a few seconds of exposure to ultraviolet light destroys the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, Pseudogymnoascus destructans.
P. destructans can only infect bats during hibernation because it has a strict temperature growth range of about 39-68 degrees Fahrenheit. However, treating bats for the disease during hibernation is challenging, so any weakness of the fungus may be good news to managers trying to develop treatment strategies.
Some estimates have over 7 million bats from multiple species to have been killed by this fungus. Some bat colonies have been totally destroyed and have not recovered.
Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
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