Evaluation of strategies for the decontamination of equipment for Geomyces destructans, the causative agent of white-nose syndrome (WNS)

Virginia Shelley, Samantha Kaiser, Elizabeth Shelley, Tim Williams, Marcelo Kramer, Katie Haman, Michael K Keel, Hazel A. Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

White-nose syndrome is an emerging infectious disease that has led to a dramatic decline in cave-hibernating bat species. White-nose syndrome is caused by the newly described fungal pathogen Geomyces destructans, which infects the ear, muzzle, and wing membranes of bats. Although the exact mechanism by which the fungus causes death is not yet understood, G. destructans leads to a high mortality rate in infected animals. While the primary mechanism of infection appears to be bat-to-bat transfer, it is still unclear what role human activity may play in the spread of this pathogen. Here we evaluate the effectiveness of decontamination protocols that can be utilized by speleologists to reduce the likelihood of spreading this dangerous pathogen to naïve bats or uninfected hibernacula. Our results show that pre-cleaning to remove muds and/ or sediments followed by the use of commercially available disinfectants can effectively remove G. destructans from caving fabrics. Alternatively, immersion in water above 50 uC for at least 20 minutes effectively destroys the fungal spores. These results have allowed the development of a decontamination protocol (http://www.fws.gov/ WhiteNoseSyndrome/cavers.html) that, when appropriately followed, can greatly reduce the likelihood of the human mediated transfer of G. destructans from an infected to uninfected site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cave and Karst Studies
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

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bat
pathogen
caving
infectious disease
cave
spore
mud
human activity
evaluation
decontamination
fungus
membrane
mortality
animal
sediment
water
protocol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

Evaluation of strategies for the decontamination of equipment for Geomyces destructans, the causative agent of white-nose syndrome (WNS). / Shelley, Virginia; Kaiser, Samantha; Shelley, Elizabeth; Williams, Tim; Kramer, Marcelo; Haman, Katie; Keel, Michael K; Barton, Hazel A.

In: Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, Vol. 75, No. 1, 04.2013, p. 1-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Shelley, Virginia ; Kaiser, Samantha ; Shelley, Elizabeth ; Williams, Tim ; Kramer, Marcelo ; Haman, Katie ; Keel, Michael K ; Barton, Hazel A. / Evaluation of strategies for the decontamination of equipment for Geomyces destructans, the causative agent of white-nose syndrome (WNS). In: Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. 2013 ; Vol. 75, No. 1. pp. 1-10.
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