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Last updated 3:19AM ET
December 5, 2021
Nebraska News
Nebraska News
New Plan to Fight Deadly Disease in Bats
(KUNC) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now accepting public comments on a plan to combat white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease killing bats. Though the illness hasn't reached Colorado yet, it could be just a matter of time.

White-nose syndrome has killed more than a million bats in the northeast, and has spread to at least 11 states in less than four years. It's caused by a fungus, and though most bats get it from other bats, humans could contaminate currently clean caves, accelerating the rate of infection, for which there is no cure. Jeremy Coleman is the national white nose syndrome coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"The only thing we really have at our disposal at this point is trying to prevent the arrival of white-nose in new areas where it doesn't currently exist," says Coleman.

He says what's at stake is a complete loss of several species of hibernating bats, that play an important role in keeping certain insect populations in check. That's why in July, the Rocky Mountain Region of the US Forest Service closed caves and abandoned mines to visitors in five states, including Colorado.

The new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan lists the priorities for the national response, including disease surveillance, research, and conservation and recovery. Comments will be accepted until December 26, 2010.
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