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Science

Deadly bat disease spreads West, Colorado officials concerned

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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The U.S. Forest Service cut off access to caves on its land in Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming to curb the spread of White Nose Syndrome last summer.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today a deadly fungus that’s killing off bat populations on the East Coast has spread to Ohio.

White Nose Syndrome was first identified in New York in 2006. Since that time it’s spread up and down the East Coast, and a fungus connected to it has been detected as far west as Oklahoma—just 200 miles from the Colorado border.

“We’re doing everything we can in terms of right now monitoring and assessing what we have going on in Colorado,” said Randy Hampton, spokesperson for the Colorado Division of Wildlife,which recently stepped up its efforts to keep tabs on bats across the state.

Hampton says as spring weather brings more hikers to the trails, the Division is asking them to not enter caves. That’s because humans have been connected to transmission of the disease.

Since being discovered, the disease is estimated to have killed more than a million bats across the US.