Bat Disease Spreads From Vermont To Western U.S.

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(Host) Vermont conservationists are warning that a disease responsible for killing millions of bats in the eastern United States is moving west. 

The Center for Biological Diversity in Richmond released a report Wednesday that says federal land managers in the western U.S. are not moving quickly enough to stem the spread of white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungus. 

Mollie Matteson is a conservation advocate with the Center.

She says the most important step that can be taken to slow the spread of the disease is to close caves and abandoned mines on federal lands to non-essential public access. 

(Matteson) "The reason for that is that human transmission is one of the ways that scientists believe this disease has traveled around from site to site.  We know that bats move it around but we know that people have that capacity as well.  So it’s one concrete thing that can be done to try and slow this disease." 

(Host) White-nose syndrome first appeared in upstate New York in 2006, and has since spread throughout the east, in areas including Vermont, Ontario and Quebec.

Matteson says the disease has shown up as far west as Oklahoma, and will likely move farther west if no action is taken. 

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