No threat to health? Ya, right.

Solstice Goat

Frater Aegagrus
Aug 7, 2012
Seattle, WA
This winter’s sad discovery spells the end for the once thriving colony.

For fear of spreading the infection, state biologists won’t visit the gated mine tucked deep into a wooded hillside for another two years. Turner expects that when he returns he may only find a few surviving bats.
In Pennsylvania, 98 percent of cave-hibernating bats have died, said Turner.
“Going to places where there used to be tens of thousand bats hibernating, and then going in and seeing only a few bats — only a few stragglers left— that’s very difficult,” said Turner, who has been documenting the rapid decline of the state’s bat population and working with a team of scientists to research how it’s spread and experiment with a variety of treatments.
Federal scientists are in the process of determining if the six species of cave bats will be included in the endangered species list, said Turner.
Though scientists are still uncertain how the disease is spread, they hypothesize that cave explorers inadvertently picked up fungus spores on clothing and gear while exploring European caves, and then used the same, unwashed items to explore caves in the U.S.

There is reportedly no threat to human health.

Often called the “farmer’s friend” because of their diet, bats hibernate each winter and spend the spring and summer months feeding on hundreds of tons of nighttime insects. One bat will consume 900,000 insects per year.
With the significant loss of its largest bat population, it will likely be a buggy summer in Upper and Central Bucks County, Turner estimates.
Scientists have not yet begun to formally study the overall impact of bat deaths on the ecology and farmers’ crops, or to track the correlation of the spread of insect-bred diseases like West Nile virus. But Turner notes he has been hearing anecdotally of the increase of summertime insects and an uptick of West Nile and similar infections in parts of the country.