Battling a bat killer

November 17, 2010

Scientists are looking for answers -- including commercial bathroom disinfectants and over-the-counter fungicides used to fight athlete's foot -- to help in the battle against a strange fungus that threatens bat populations in the United States. That's the topic of an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Correspondent Stephen K. Ritter notes that despite their poor public image, bats are beneficial. They pollinate plants, spread seeds, and eat vast numbers of insects that otherwise could destroy food crops and carry human diseases.

Ritter describes a fast-spreading fungal disease called white-nose syndrome, named for its effects in discoloring the noses of infected bats.

The has killed more than 1 million hibernating bats in caves and abandoned mines in the U.S. during the past four years, the worst die-off of wildlife in North American history. The fungus damages the bats' wings and causes restless behavior during winter months, making survival unlikely.

The article describes how scientists are struggling to understand the disease while trying to prevent it from spreading and discusses how scientists are seeking possible chemical solutions to eradicate the fungus without damaging the environment or harming healthy .

Explore further: Newly identified fungus implicated in white-nose syndrome in bats

More information: "Battling Bat Fungus" This story is available at

Related Stories

Deadly bat disease is spreading west

June 22, 2010

A disease killing more than 1 million with a mortality rate close to 100 percent continues to sweep across the country. First detected in New York in 2006, it is now found in 14 states in the East and South, leaving starvation ...

Scientists unravel the mystery of white-nose syndrome

June 3, 2009

The mysterious disease that has killed more than 90 percent of wintering bats in some caves and mines from Vermont to Virginia during the last three years has raised numerous questions about the nature of the disease and ...

Bats facing regional extinction from rapidly spreading disease

August 5, 2010

A new infectious disease spreading rapidly across the northeastern United States has killed millions of bats and is predicted to cause regional extinction of a once-common bat species, according to the findings of a University ...

Recommended for you

Self-sealing syringe prevents blood loss in hemophilic mice

October 28, 2016

(—For people whose blood does not clot appropriately, such as those with hemophilia, diabetes, or cancer, getting an injection or blood draw with a hypodermic needle is not a trivial matter. Because the needle ...

A composite thread that varies in rigidity

October 27, 2016

EPFL scientists have developed a new type of composite thread that varies in stiffness depending on its temperature. Applications range from multifunctional robots to knitted casts, and even tunable medical devices.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.