General

Millions of bats die in the USA. What kills them?

12 years in a row in the caves of the eastern United StatesThere are mountains of dead bodies of tiny bats. They all die because of the so-called white nose syndrome caused by a fungus, leading to the destruction of the wings, fat loss and, ultimately, to death. At the moment, the number of dead due to animal disease is estimated in the millions, and the number of victims is increasing - recently infected individuals have been found even in California. The authorities are seriously concerned about the mass death of bats, because without them, US residents can become infected with dangerous diseases and lose their food.

It is believed that the fungus Pseudogymnoascusdestructans originally originated in Europe, and then moved to North America. It actively reproduces at low temperatures, and bats just overwinter in cold caves and during hibernation become vulnerable to diseases. Using the weakness of animals, the fungus has already killed legions of 45 species of bats in 38 states of America.

How does the fungus spread?

In 2018, biologists discovered infected mice.even in California. In total, they found only four individuals with white noses, but they can easily infect hundreds, and even thousands of their relatives. The fact is that these animals sleep very closely to each other, so even one infected mouse is enough to infect a whole flock. Also a dangerous fungus can quietly wait for them for ten years even in an empty cave.

Infected bat

How to cure a disease?

Also carriers of the disease can be people -The fungus is not dangerous to our health, but we can spread its controversy on clothes and shoes. In this regard, the authorities of some states of America forbid people to visit the caves. They also suggest that bats be allowed to hibernate inside military temperature-controlled bunkers - so, in their opinion, animals can somehow be protected from contamination.

Fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans

Also, biologists have tried to fight the epidemic withchemicals, but it was eventually found that they can do even more harm to bats. At the moment, the best way to protect animals from the disease is the spraying of a vaccine, but it does not yet exist - according to the calculations of biologists, it may take several years to develop.

What do bats eat?

Scientists want to stop the extinction of batsbecause they are extremely helpful to people. For example, they are actively exterminating mosquitoes that spread West Nile fever - this infection causes inflammation of the meninges and can lead to death.

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Also bats destroyagricultural pests that damage cotton and maize crops. In addition, they pollinate a plant called agave, the core of which is used to produce tequila. In general, thanks to flying creatures, the United States saves $ 3.7 billion annually.

Is the disease really dangerous?

Perhaps biologists early panic becausein warm California, the disease can spread much more slowly than in cold states. However, even if it does not spread in California, it is extremely important for scientists to develop a vaccine from it, because at this rate bats can turn into an endangered animal species at all.

Recommended to read: Why do bats tolerate the Ebola virus and other deadly diseases well?

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