White Nose Syndrome May Sweep Country

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A mysterious bat disease that was first detected in upstate New York and quickly spread to caves in Vermont may be on the verge of sweeping across the country.

That was the warning Tuesday from Senator Patrick Leahy in a hearing with Interior Department officials.

Leahy said the disease – known as "white nose syndrome" – has already killed more than a million hibernating bats across the Northeast. And he pointed out that the disease was found last month for the first time in Tennessee.

Last year, Leahy sought nearly $2 million in funding for research and field response to white nose syndrome.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did not give specific funding plans for the 2011 budget, but he did pledge that it would remain a high priority for the department.

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