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.” (Read more bats stories.)