From the BBC Canada:
Biologists say there’s new hope for struggling bat populations in Canada following laboratory and field trials that treated white-nose syndrome with a common North American bacteria.
Researchers at Georgia State University started using the bacteria Rhodococcus rhodochrousin in laboratories to inhibit the growth of fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in 2012, The Nature Conservancy said in a news release.
This winter U.S. Forest Service biologists conducted field work in caves in Kentucky and Missouri. They found 150 bats survived.
“It looks like bats were able to survive with the help of the bacterium so it’s promising,” says Karen Vanderwolf, a bat conservation specialist with the Canadian Wildlife Federation in New Brunswick.
The syndrome arrived in Canada just five years ago but it has decimated populations. It’s estimated to have killed 5.7 million bats in Canada and the United States. The fungus attacks bats when they’re hibernating, penetrating their skin, causing dehydration and burning off the fat reserves they rely on to survive the winter.
White-Nose Syndrome, which is caused by a cold-loving fungus, was introduced into the United States about ten years ago and has killed more than 5.7 million American bats in the eastern half of the U. S. and Canada.
Government biologists are optimistic they can treat White Nose Syndrome and stop the epidemic of bat deaths in the U.S. and Canada.