Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby John Lovaas » Dec 30, 2010 7:37 am

eyecave wrote:has any bat biostudentgroup done a study to see if very widespread isolated milder infestations of wns are present anywhere in TAG?..............GUYS searching for isolated mild infectlijon situations, which are what would be found if these people who think isolated incidences of infections caused by cavers spreading spores was happening..i bet not......

Biologists around the country have been looking for 'atypical' signs of WNS-related damage- scarring, for example- for about a year. The 'milder infestation' you wonder about defines every Gd positive bat from central TN westward to OK- the USFWS classification of "Likely" means that the bats tested positive for the fungus, but showed no clinical signs of WNS.

Google.

eyecave wrote:.......i found a pile of dead bats......10 or so in ellison's, the upper part, at the most 3 years ago.......in the room before the first drop.....was it wns? or was it vandals?...i don't know..................................


I reckon a responsible caver would let the local USFWS contact know about it- what did you do?
Last edited by John Lovaas on Dec 30, 2010 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby graveleye » Dec 30, 2010 11:00 am

I'm pretty sure that the bat deaths in Ellison's were attributed to pesticides used nearby.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 31, 2010 1:38 pm

John,

I'm not sure we can say that "likely" determinations represent milder infections. Once bats become active they often groom exterior fungus off, and of course early stages of the infection may not have manifested symptoms or visible fungus yet.

Indeed I believe many summer cases fell into this category. Is WNS really "milder" because a bat can groom off the fungus or stay fed...at least till winter?

Since none of the "likely" bats were kept alive and monitored, we cant say if they simply were in early stages, had recently groomed the fungus, or truly had a less virulent case.

I also think it might be wishful thinking to assume cavers will fall over themselves reporting anything to the USFWS. I'd be curious if someone could show me how doing so would help the cave, the bats, or cavers. We'd get an updated WNS map and more pressure to "stop the human vector"....I'm not sure the cost-benefit works out there.

The USFWS want cavers to stay out of all caves..remember. I say we let them figure out how good their own monitoring really is when cavers aren't doing the leg work for them. I suspect thats happening already.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby Teresa » Dec 31, 2010 5:11 pm

John Lovaas wrote:Biologists around the country have been looking for 'atypical' signs of WNS-related damage- scarring, for example- for about a year. The 'milder infestation' you wonder about defines every Gd positive bat from central TN westward to OK- the USFWS classification of "Likely" means that the bats tested positive for the fungus, but showed no clinical signs of WNS.


As I understand it, a "likely" means they showed scarring, but the researchers were unable to cultivate Gd from the specimen in the lab.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby PYoungbaer » Jan 1, 2011 1:04 pm

Theresa et al,

"Likely" on the map includes all the revised USGS definitions except "Confirmed." In most cases, this means the fungus has been confirmed, but no accompanying histology. Such is the case with the Oklahoma bat, as well as the Missouri bats and the bats in Tennessee - except for Worleys and Grindstaff Caves in the northeastern part of the state.

Although this has been posted previously on another WNS thread, it's good to remind people again where to go for the exact USGS Classifications:

http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_inform ... itions.jsp

Hey - Happy New Year to All! Let's hope we see the beginning of the end for WNS in 2011.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby Jon » Jan 2, 2011 2:31 am

commanderzoom wrote:
I still don't think it's a good idea to be spraying my gear down with all kinds of chemicals before going underground. I don't see how that can be good for the other forms of wildlife that live in there OR for the bats. I get a headache from bleach, Lysol, & Formula 409 so what's it doing to the little critters? Those chemicals also "burn" my skin and make it all itchy. What's it doing to them when those chemicals get in their water supply? Won't we have more than just the bats to worry about several years down the road if we keep decontaminating with all these chemicals? Is all the decontamination causing MORE contamination? Don't get me wrong, I do follow the WNS decontamination protocol because that's what I'm supposed to do but I'm not comfortable with it.




You don't spray down your gear before you enter a cave, you wash down the gear AFTER leaving. I don't like bleach cause it can be destructive to fibers, Lysol products tend to have a smell that just about can't be rinsed out. So I use the AB 409 (not the lemony kitchen varity). If you rinse the gear well with warm water there is little or no residue to "burn" your skin or get in a caves water supply.
Like it or not, believe it works (or matters) or not, we, if we don't want all caves closed, must do the decon. If we don't, we will be branded as bat killing, uncaring, selfish slobs who put personal "thrills" ahead of the ecosystem as a whole. Until science proves otherwise we must follow the guidelines so as to not give an excuse to shut down more caves or all caves.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 2, 2011 4:41 pm

jon,

the problem is science HAS proven that its more likely that humans are NOT vectors than are. (Note neither case is absolute). Frankly, we arent going to be branded as anything cause 95% of the country simply doesnt care. Many agencies have closed caves to ALL visitation, decon or not.

So, you can do the decon dance or do what you always have. The difference: Nothing. Of course some of us prostitute ourselves to the decon overlords to get Federal Permits but thats a whole different matter from recreational caving.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby commanderzoom » Jan 25, 2011 4:43 pm

Jon wrote:
commanderzoom wrote:
I still don't think it's a good idea to be spraying my gear down with all kinds of chemicals before going underground. I don't see how that can be good for the other forms of wildlife that live in there OR for the bats. I get a headache from bleach, Lysol, & Formula 409 so what's it doing to the little critters? Those chemicals also "burn" my skin and make it all itchy. What's it doing to them when those chemicals get in their water supply? Won't we have more than just the bats to worry about several years down the road if we keep decontaminating with all these chemicals? Is all the decontamination causing MORE contamination? Don't get me wrong, I do follow the WNS decontamination protocol because that's what I'm supposed to do but I'm not comfortable with it.




You don't spray down your gear before you enter a cave, you wash down the gear AFTER leaving. I don't like bleach cause it can be destructive to fibers, Lysol products tend to have a smell that just about can't be rinsed out. So I use the AB 409 (not the lemony kitchen varity). If you rinse the gear well with warm water there is little or no residue to "burn" your skin or get in a caves water supply.
Like it or not, believe it works (or matters) or not, we, if we don't want all caves closed, must do the decon. If we don't, we will be branded as bat killing, uncaring, selfish slobs who put personal "thrills" ahead of the ecosystem as a whole. Until science proves otherwise we must follow the guidelines so as to not give an excuse to shut down more caves or all caves.



Technically, if I decon after a caving trip I'm still deconing before going into the next cave. I have really sensitive sinuses and can smell things I probably shouldn't be able to, which is how I know the cleaner is still in/on my gear after it's been rinsed like crazy. I also get rashes really easily from the products approved for decon :roll:. Lucky me, right? Drives me nuts, especially when I start thinking that if *I* can still smell it, it might be harming the cave life in some way since it's still in/on my gear in at least small traces. Also, I used to be a kind of hippie and still have a kind of "thing" about chemicals in general and their impact on the environment. Totally hypocritical since I still use alkaline batteries but that's irrelevant.

I do my decon like a good little caver, I just complain about it here on Cavechat & to some of my friends on occasion. I'm well aware of the need to not make myself and my fellow cavers look like bat killing, uncaring, selfish slobs since we get enough bad press over the whole WNS thing as it is. I don't talk about my dislike of the whole decon procedure to random people or anything like that. I especially don't talk about how I'm beginning to feel about the bats because I know it's just frustration talking anyway.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby Leitmotiv » Jan 25, 2011 4:51 pm

Well think about this. Humans have really weak smelling receptors. So even if we can't smell it, its still probably present. Unfortunately, humans base reality through our limited sensory range and make huge leaps in judgment based on that.

The chemicals are most likely still present, especially if they're insoluble or only partially insoluble. This means that it's probably impacting smaller life like invertebrates.

I said it before and I'll say it again. We can clean up our act by contaminating everything else in the process. Remember West Nile virus? We sprayed toxins in the air for that... where do you think it went? The water table, and now we are drinking it. Did it solve anything? Nope.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby boogercaver71 » Jan 25, 2011 4:52 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:jon,

the problem is science HAS proven that its more likely that humans are NOT vectors than are. (Note neither case is absolute). Frankly, we arent going to be branded as anything cause 95% of the country simply doesnt care. Many agencies have closed caves to ALL visitation, decon or not.

So, you can do the decon dance or do what you always have. The difference: Nothing. Of course some of us prostitute ourselves to the decon overlords to get Federal Permits but thats a whole different matter from recreational caving.


Your right,in a land of 300+million people,we are just a speck on a pinhead. The average guy on the street doesn't care about us or bats. They have their own problems
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby BrianC » Jan 25, 2011 4:59 pm

Leitmotiv wrote:Well think about this. Humans have really weak smelling receptors. So even if we can't smell it, its still probably present. Unfortunately, humans base reality through our limited sensory range and make huge leaps in judgment based on that.

The chemicals are most likely still present, especially if they're insoluble or only partially insoluble. This means that it's probably impacting smaller life like invertebrates.

I said it before and I'll say it again. We can clean up our act by contaminating everything else in the process. Remember West Nile virus? We sprayed toxins in the air for that... where do you think it went? The water table, and now we are drinking it. Did it solve anything? Nope.


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Camps Gulf split

Postby BrianC » Jan 28, 2011 12:15 pm

Discussion split from the Camps Gulf topic and moved here.
Batgirl wrote: And since the spread of G.d. by humans is still a plausible theory,


I disagree wholeheartedly, The laboratory tests to grow Gd have failed miserably, the spread of WNS itself points to no other avenue of spread than bat to bat. All evidence has pointed to the failure of this theory of human transmission. Again, The Sky is Falling, but, has anyone seen the sky falling?

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Re: Camps Gulf

Postby Batgirl » Jan 28, 2011 12:32 pm

Actually Brian, you are wrong. It is possible for humans to spread the spores (as far we know). Laboratory tests prove that they can be transferred from the cave environment to our gear to the lab and from the cave environment to the bat. However, there have been no real world human to bat transmission tests done and therefore no proof that transmission under normal conditions can occur. No testing, means no proof one way or another, which means the theory is still plausible. I really wish you would quit this circular argument. it gets us nowhere. We must deal with the situation as it is and find ways to work together for the betterment of us all and the bats.
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Re: Camps Gulf

Postby BrianC » Jan 28, 2011 1:39 pm

Batgirl wrote:Actually Brian, you are wrong. It is possible for humans to spread the spores (as far we know). Laboratory tests prove that they can be transferred from the cave environment to our gear to the lab and from the cave environment to the bat. However, there have been no real world human to bat transmission tests done and therefore no proof that transmission under normal conditions can occur. No testing, means no proof one way or another, which means the theory is still plausible. I really wish you would quit this circular argument. it gets us nowhere. We must deal with the situation as it is and find ways to work together for the betterment of us all and the bats.

Batgirl, actually you are wrong. If you read my post, the spores have not been able to grow into the fungus in laboratory conditions. spreading spores that don't grow into the fungus without the physically infected bat present makes this a moot point. Therefore no human spread, and this is what we need to push if we are ever going to get our government to do the right thing. Stay on track here, humans do not spread WNS! The proof is right in front of you!
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Re: Camps Gulf

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 28, 2011 2:16 pm

batgirl, I have stopped beating that dead horse with Brian. if someone refuses to accept that the world is round then all the evidence in the world (no pun intended) doesnt matter. :big grin:

I do disagree with you on a few points. While the Theory of human transmission is possible, it isnt just a case of no proof either way. Its a case of having compelling if circumstantial evidence it doesn't happen, or at best doesnt happen enough to matter. We know bats are killed by automobile strikes. We know the odds are better at night and in forested areas near water. But because we cant prove the level of impact, because we cant ever accurately measure the number of strikes, we have absolutely no policy on nightime driving in bat foraging areas.

Yet, with even less data these agencies are making drastic decisions regarding WNS. The scapegoat of regulatory responsibility only goes so far. The case can be made that you would have to outlaw pesticides and wind turbines along with night time drivng. Those agencies are required to make reasonable and prudent efforts and in all cases there are loopholes.

I have worked for many years in state and federal government and have come to see there is exactly 1 effective way to promote change. persistent and consistent confrontation. everything else is a lot of effort for virtually no gain. I might add this is EXACTLY the reason the CBD was formed. They were agency folks who got tired of not being able to effect change because if your in the system you cant generally confront it.
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