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Bats May Be Saved from Deadly Disease by Bacteria April 10, 2015
Bat with white-nose syndrome
Northern long-eared bat with white-nose syndrome.
Scientists say they may have found a way to protect the bats that have managed to survive a deadly fungal disease that has wiped out up to 90 percent of northern long-eared bats in parts of 25 states.

Researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, write in the journal PLOS ONE that they have found a bacteria already on the bats in low levels that can inhibit the growth of the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome.

The deadly fungus affects the bat’s skin and metabolism, causing the flying mammal to come out of hibernation in winter and deplete all of its stored fat.

“What’s promising is that the bacteria that can inhibit the fungus naturally occur on the skin of bats,” writes Joseph Hoyt.

“These bacteria may just be at too low a level to have an effect on the disease.”

The researchers hope that a bacterial spray applied to bats during hibernation could suppress the fungus enough to help the bats survive the winter.

Photo: U.S. Forest Service