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White-Nose Syndrome

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White nose syndrome - DOI, USGS
White-nose syndrome, little brown bat with fungus on muzzle - Al Hicks, New York Department of Environmental Conservation
Scientific Name: 

Fungus, formerly known as Geomyces destructans is now known as Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd. (Minnis and Lindner 2013)

Common Name: 
White-Nose Syndrome (WNS)
Native To: 
Date of U.S. Introduction: 

First discovered in a cave near Albany, New York in Feb 2006. New York Department of Environmental Conservation biologists documented white-nose syndrome in Jan 2007. (Blehert et al. 2011)

Means of Introduction: 

Most likely introduced by human activity, possibly by a visitor to a show cave in New York. (Leopardi et al. 2015; Puechmaille et al. 2011)

Impact: 

Disease of bats causing a population decline of 72 to 88 percent of hibernating species in the northeastern U.S. (Lorch et al. 2012; Puechmaille et al. 2011)

Spotlights

USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

White-nose syndrome has been spreading through U.S. bat populations since 2006 and has caused mass die-offs in various regions of the country. The syndrome is caused by Pd (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), a fungus that invades the skin of bats while they hibernate. USDA Forest Service wildlife biologists Roger Perry and Phillip Jordan conducted a study to calculate the survival rates of tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) in the Ouachita Mountains of west-central Arkansas. The research helps satisfy the need for robust estimates of population data amid the WNS outbreak. The scientists chose to study the tricolored bat because it is common across North America and has suffered substantial declines due to WNS. The research highlights the importance of maintaining and protecting small hibernation sites as they may be critical to the conservation of the tricolored bat species.

DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that a team of six researchers from Oregon State University and the University of California, Santa Cruz are the winners of a national prize challenge to combat white-nose syndrome (WNS), a lethal wildlife disease that has killed millions of bats in North America and pushed some native bat species to the brink of extinction. The Service's White-nose Syndrome Program launched the challenge last October as part of a multi-faceted funding strategy to develop management tools to fight the disease. A total of 47 proposed solutions were submitted for permanently eradicating, weakening or disarming Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes WNS, thereby improving survival in bat species affected by the disease. A panel of 18 experts from academic institutions, federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations evaluated the challenge entries based on readiness, deployment scale, species susceptibility, ease of use, cost efficiency, efficacy and risk to resources.

In the coming months, the Service will announce a second challenge to offer an additional $80,000, as we continue to pursue novel, innovative solutions that could help us permanently eradicate, weaken, or disarm the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. The Service plans to hold additional idea prize challenges in the future to invite solvers with a diverse array of knowledge, skills, expertise and perspectives to help the agency tackle today’s toughest conservation issues.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

For the first time, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists have confirmed the disease white-nose syndrome (WNS) in a Texas bat. Up until this point, while the fungus that causes the disease was previously detected in Texas in 2017, there were no signs of the disease it can cause. WNS has killed millions of hibernating bats in the eastern parts of the United States, raising national concern. WNS is a fungal disease only known to occur in bats and is not a risk to people. However, bats are wild animals and should not be handled by untrained individuals. The public is encouraged to report dead or sick bats to TPWD at nathan.fuller@tpwd.texas.gov for possible testing.

DOI. United States Geological Survey.
A new study shows that vaccination may reduce the impact of white-nose syndrome in bats, marking a milestone in the international fight against one of the most destructive wildlife diseases in modern times. "This is a significant step forward in developing control mechanisms to combat the devastating spread of white-nose syndrome in our important bat populations," said USGS Director Jim Reilly. "Being able to deliver an oral vaccine during hibernation could be a game changer in our ability to combat one of the deadliest wildlife diseases in modern times." White-nose syndrome is caused by a fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd, and has killed millions of North American bats since 2006. The disease is spreading rapidly and there is no cure.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service.
See also: White-Nose Syndrome Map for current and archived maps from Nov 23, 2010

Images

DOI. USGS. National Wildlife Health Center.

Videos

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for White-Nose Syndrome.

Council or Task Force

Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.

Partnership
Federal Government
DOI. United States Geological Survey.
DOI. USGS. National Wildlife Health Center.
International Government
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (Canada). Fish and Wildlife.
See also: Wildlife Diseases in Alberta for more fact sheets
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Australia). 
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (Canada). Wildlife Management.
British Columbia Ministry of Environment (Canada).
State and Local Government
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease that is identified by the telltale white fungus growing on the noses of some infected bats while they hibernate. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking the public to report the sighting of any active or dead bats during winter. Please call 208-454-7638 to report sightings. Idaho Fish and Game would also like to know of any sites that have hibernating bats so biologists can include them in the monitoring effort. Finally, the public is asked to not disturb hibernating bats and to respect cave closures.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an infectious disease responsible for unprecedented levels of mortality among hibernating bats in North America. WNS was first detected in Indiana in January 2011 during routine winter hibernacula surveys conducted by Division of Fish and Wildlife bat biologists. WNS is widely distributed throughout much of the karst region in south-central Indiana and locally established within most of the state's major concentrations of important bat hibernacula.
Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Academic

Cornell University. Cornell Wildlife Health Lab.

Ohio State University. Extension.
Professional

Citations