The bat-killing fungus that causes white-nose syndrome is continuing its relentless spread—the fungus was spotted west of the Mississippi River in Missouri for the first time ever last week, reports Scientific American. White-nose syndrome has now been spotted in 19 states and four Canadian provinces, and has now killed more than 7 million bats. It kills between 70% and 100% of bats it infects and there is no known treatment or cure. The disease has also been reported in new locations in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
A specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity has a bleak prediction in regard to the discovery in Missouri: “First the fungus shows up on a few healthy bats. A couple of years later, the disease strikes. And if the pattern continues, we can expect that in another few years, the majority of Missouri’s hibernating bats will be dead.”