Deadly Bat Disease Spreads to N.J.

Scientists unsure of cause, how to stop sickness

A mysterious disease that has killed thousands of bats in New England has spread to New Jersey.

And it's perplexing wildlife officials and raising concerns of a possible increase in bugs and pests.

The state Environmental Protection Department's Division of Fish and Wildlife says hundreds of bats are dying at two caves in Morris County that serve as a home to the furry insect-eaters during winter hibernation.

Mick Valent, the division's principal zoologist, says several bats found last month later died in rehabilitation, and others were found dead or emaciated.

All displayed a white fungus around their muzzles, a sign of what is called white-nose syndrome.

The disease has confounded biologists, who only know that the fungus and the deaths occur concurrently. It isn't known if the fungus is a cause or a symptom.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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