"Low Level" Gd Found in Iowa

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"Low Level" Gd Found in Iowa

Postby PYoungbaer » Jun 13, 2012 9:42 am

The Iowa DNR announced this morning that low levels of the fungus, Geomyces destructans were found on a bat sampled at Dancehall Cave at Maquoketa Caves State Park. The caves at MCSP had been closed for two years as a precautionary measure, but were re-opened this spring. They remain open, but with additional precautions. Here's the full press release:

LOW-LEVEL DETECTION OF FUNGUS DANGEROUS TO BATS PROMPTS ADDITIONAL
PRECAUTIONS AT MAQUOKETA CAVES

MAQUOKETA - Efforts to prevent the spread of a fungus that causes white-nose
syndrome in bats will be stepped up after a low level of the fungus was
detected on a hibernating big brown bat at Maquoketa Caves State Park.

The detection of the fungus came from a swab taken during sampling on the
hibernating bats in March. The testing is used to detect DNA that would
indicate the presence of the fungus (Geomyces destructans) that causes
white-nose syndrome, which has been deadly for bats particularly in the
northeastern portions of the United States and Canada. The testing was done
as part of a national study being conducted in an effort to stop the spread
of the disease.

A total of 15 bats were swabbed at Dancehall Cave with the very low level of
the fungus detected on only one bat.

"The level is so low it's difficult to say what this detection means," said
Daryl Howell of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "It may be at a
level low enough that it may not infect the bats at all or it could be just
the beginning of an outbreak that we will see in the future."

But Howell said even the small detection of the fungus changes the dynamics
at Maquoketa Caves State Park.

"We now go from trying to prevent the fungus from getting into the cave to
trying to prevent it from getting out," Howell said.

To that end, the DNR will be adding mats with disinfection solution that
people will walk across after leaving the caves to decrease the potential of
spreading the fungus to other caves and bat populations. People who have
recently visited other caves will also walk across the disinfection mats
prior to going into Maquoketa Caves.

The DNR also will have staff available at the caves to provide information
to visitors on how to prevent the spread of the fungus. After participating
in the educational program, cave visitors are provided a wristband. So far
this year, more than 10,000 wristbands have been given out.

"Education is probably the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread
of the disease," said Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the state parks bureau.

Maquoketa Caves were closed for two years because of concerns about
white-nose syndrome and the approximately 400 bats that hibernate there in
the winter. The caves were reopened this spring because the DNR was able to
have staff available to educate the public about precautions needed to
prevent spreading of the disease.

"We were fortunate in that the Legislature appropriated enough money for us
to be able to offer this kind of service to the public. We simply didn't
have the funding the previous two years to be able to do this," said
Szcodronski.
Szcodronski said one of the primary messages to visitors at Maquoketa Caves
is to not visit other caves with any clothing or gear that was used there.

Howell said options are being looked at to increase sampling at Maquoketa
Caves next winter because healthy bat populations are important both
ecologically and economically. Many species of bats feed voraciously on
insects resulting in an estimated $3 billion of savings to the U.S.
agriculture industry each year by providing pest control, according to a
2011 article in Science Magazine.

White-nose syndrome is known to be transmitted primarily from bat to bat,
but fungal spores may be inadvertently carried to caves by humans on
clothing and caving gear. The syndrome is not known to pose a threat to
humans, pets or livestock.

Additional information on white nose syndrome and bats is available at
www.whitenosesyndrome.org

Media contact: Kevin Baskins, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, at
515-281-8395 or Ann Froschauer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at
413-253-8356.


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PYoungbaer
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Re: "Low Level" Gd Found in Iowa

Postby BrianC » Jun 13, 2012 12:55 pm

[/quote]Low Levels? What will they think of next? It must take high levels of Gd to infect bats I would presume. :rofl:[quote]"We now go from trying to prevent the fungus from getting into the cave to
trying to prevent it from getting out," Howell said.Maybe, We should concentrate on longer trips to avoid spreading WNS.
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Re: "Low Level" Gd Found in Iowa

Postby boogercaver71 » Jun 13, 2012 2:53 pm

White-nose syndrome is known to be transmitted primarily from bat to bat,
but fungal spores may be inadvertently carried to caves by humans on
clothing and caving gear.


They forgot racoons
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Re: "Low Level" Gd Found in Iowa

Postby PYoungbaer » Jun 13, 2012 3:19 pm

BrianC wrote: It must take high levels of Gd to infect bats I would presume


Actually, the amount of spores it takes to cause infection has still yet to be determined (Multiplicity of Infection, or MOI).
PYoungbaer
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Re: "Low Level" Gd Found in Iowa

Postby wyandottecaver » Jun 13, 2012 3:59 pm

the interesting thing here is that they were sampling and swabbing hibernating bats that at the time were presumed healthy. Essentially doing "checkups". Quite a departure from standard practice of avoiding disturbance.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: "Low Level" Gd Found in Iowa

Postby BrianC » Jun 14, 2012 9:44 am

PYoungbaer wrote:
BrianC wrote: It must take high levels of Gd to infect bats I would presume


Actually, the amount of spores it takes to cause infection has still yet to be determined (Multiplicity of Infection, or MOI).


You hit the nail on the head that I was wanting to elaborate on. Where in the world do they come up with this kind of wording, as the fact that Gd is Gd at any concentration I would think, unless Gdis not always Gd and there is another factor that has been overlooked all together(He,He,He!). Now, The real story becomes; How stupid can the general public be held at, before the funding has become exhausted? Of course, at that time the real answers will show that no amount of research or funding can help avoid the spread of White Nose Syndrome, and that will be the end of that. Of course, at that point the ESA will come into play for most of the bat population.
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