Wednesday, 14 August 2013

UK bats may be immune to killer fungus

A deadly fungus thought responsible for killing nearly six million bats in North America since 2006 has been found in the UK with no harmful effects.

The fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans has been discovered on a living bat and in soil samples from five sites.

There have been no observed deaths in the UK suggesting UK bats they may be resistant to the fungus

In the US it causes White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) and leads bats to arouse more frequently from hibernation.

The fungus has previously been found at sites across Europe, but without WNS or the associated large numbers of dead bats. It is likely European bats are also immune to the disease.

Bat Conservation Trust's Julia Hanmer said: "We believe that as with other countries in Europe, UK bats may be resistant to this fungus, because we're not seeing any signs of bats dying as a result of this fungus being present.

"Our understanding is that this fungus has been present in Europe for a very long time and that bats have grown a resistance to it. It's been introduced in North America where bats have not been exposed before and don't have resistance, that's why they're dying in large numbers."

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