Rapidly Spreading Disease Found In Bats In SC - WSPA.com

Rapidly Spreading Disease Found In Bats In SC

Posted: Updated:
A disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern U.S. has reached South Carolina. (USFWS) A disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern U.S. has reached South Carolina. (USFWS)
COLUMBIA, S.C. -

A disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern U.S. has reached South Carolina.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said Monday it found a bat that died from white-nose syndrome in February in a remote part of Table Rock Park in the northwest part of the state in Pickens County.

The disease was first found in bats six years ago in New York state. South Carolina is the 20th state to record a case. Scientists estimate up to 7 million bats have died, and the disease kills more than 90 percent of the bats it infects.

According to a news release issued by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, bats eat thousands of metric tons of insects every year, making bats a vital asset for agricultural pest control.

In fact, bats save the agricultural industry about $3 billion annually in pest control costs, but with millions of bats dying, DNR says food costs could increase if farmers spend more on artificial pest control means. 

"We know that when farmers ... has to use more pesticide ... you always see the cost at the consumer end," said DNR biologist and bat expert Mary Bunch.

While there's not much in terms of preventing or curing the disease, wildlife officials say caves should be closed to the public to keep from spreading the fungus that causes the disease.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • Truck Hit Green Link Bus, Crashes Into Building, Flees Scene

    Truck Hit Green Link Bus, Crashes Into Building, Flees Scene

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:31 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:31:51 GMT
    Troopers say debris was apparently on the hood of the truck when the suspect fled and most of it fell off into the roadway.Troopers say debris was apparently on the hood of the truck when the suspect fled and most of it fell off into the roadway.
    The Highway Patrol is investigating an accident in Powdersville after a truck hit a Green Link bus on Highway 153, wrecked into a building, and then the truck driver fled the scene.
    The Highway Patrol is investigating an accident in Powdersville after a truck hit a Green Link bus on Highway 153, wrecked into a building, and then the truck driver fled the scene.
  • The Law On Leaving Kids Home Alone

    The Law On Leaving Kids Home Alone

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:19 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:19:56 GMT

    Recent cases of mothers getting arrested for leaving their children alone while they try to work has stirred debate on affordable child care and when you can legally leave your child home alone.

    Recent cases of mothers getting arrested for leaving their children alone while they try to work has stirred debate on affordable child care and when you can legally leave your child home alone.

  • Flooding Possible Across Upstate, WNC Thursday

    Flooding Possible Across Upstate, WNC Thursday

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:37 PM EDT2014-07-31 16:37:35 GMT
    The 24/7 Weather Team says isolated showers will continue Thursday with highs in the upper 70s in the Upstate and mid-70s for the mountains.
    The 24/7 Weather Team says isolated showers will continue Thursday with highs in the upper 70s in the Upstate and mid-70s for the mountains.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.