Deadly Bat Fungus Moves West of Mississippi
Number of bat deaths now tops 7M, say scientists
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2012 4:16 PM CDT
This 2008 file photo provided by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation shows a little brown bat suffering from white-nose syndrome, with the signature frosting of fungus on its nose.   (AP Photo/New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Ryan von Linden, File)

(Newser) – 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.”