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Individual Highlight

Preventing human-based transmission of white-nose syndrome of bats.

Photo of Figure 1: Spores of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, magnified one thousand times.. Curved spores are the most characteristic, but they are often highly variable in shape.
Figure 2: Efficacy of 70 percent ethanol on spore survival. Top row: Growth after exposure to ethanol for 0, 0.3 and 1 minute.  Row 2: Growth after 5, 10 and 15 minutes. 
Figure 1: Spores of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, magnified one thousand times.. Curved spores are the most characteristic, but they are often highly variable in shape. Figure 2: Efficacy of 70 percent ethanol on spore survival. Top row: Growth after exposure to ethanol for 0, 0.3 and 1 minute. Row 2: Growth after 5, 10 and 15 minutes. Snapshot : Over six million bats have died in eastern North America from white-nose syndrome since the disease was first observed in 2006. Forest Service scientists are looking for ways to slow the spread of the disease by finding better ways to clean the clothing and equipment that people bring into the caves.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Glaeser, Jessie A. 
Research Location : Madison, WI
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1236

Summary

White-nose syndrome, a disease caused by a nonnative fungal pathogen (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), has devastated bat populations across the eastern U.S. The fungus produces large numbers of spores that can survive in cave sediments. One possible mode of pathogen transmission among the caves and mines is from the movement of spores on the shoes, clothes, and equipment of tourists and the caving community. Forest Service scientists are evaluating the efficacy of using different cleaning agents and other decontamination strategies on the apparel and equipment people bring into the caves. Research to date reveals that submersible materials can be decontaminated by washing them with detergent and then soaking them in hot water (more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 20 minutes. Materials with hard, nonporous surfaces can be cleaned with bleach, 60 percent ethanol or isopropanol, or a variety of cleaning agents following label directions. The study also recommends the use of cleaning wipes and hand sanitizers. These treatments have been incorporated into the National Decontamination Protocol, a collaborative effort among multiple federal and state agencies and several nongovernmental organizations that develops procedures to prevent contamination of new sites to slow the spread of the disease. The protocols continue to be updated as effectiveness of new cleaning compounds are evaluated. Effective sanitation is essential to prevent long-distance movement of the pathogen.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • White Nose Syndrome Disease Management Working Committee

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