TechnologyThey call it a 'bat apocalypse.' The fungus causing it is spreading across Texas
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The Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris was a sea of black and yellow on Saturday as black-clad anarchists used a "yellow vest" rally to run amok, looting shops and torching businesses in scenes reminiscent of the riots that shook the city late last year."There are people and there is action. It reminds me of December!" a young protester shouted triumphantly as flames billowed from a bank and thick black smoke rose from burning barricades erected along the famed avenue. The demonstrator was referring to December 1, when protesters went on the rampage in Paris, smearing the Arc de Triomphe war memorial in graffiti in a frenzy of vandalism, looting and arson.
FORT WORTH, Texas — The fungus that kills bats showed up in Texas only two years ago, but now it is marching across the state
So far, no cases of white-nose syndrome have been discovered in Texas.
But it usually takes two to four years before the fungus starts causing white-nose syndrome, said Jonah Evans, a Texas Parks and Wildlife mammalogist.
Texas Parks and Wildlife announced this week that the fungus was found in 22 sites in 16 counties in 2019. Eleven of those counties are new and it has now been found in 21 Texas counties.
The fungus’ spread across the U.S. has led some scientists to warn that it could lead to a regional extinction of some bat species. The syndrome gets its name from the white fuzz found on the noses of infected bats as they overwinter in caves.
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Last year, National Geographic went so far as to warn that a bat apocalypse is unfolding.
The syndrome disrupts bats during hibernation.
“It causes them to wake up multiple times while they are hibernating,” Evans said. “It depletes reserves and the bats die off from starvation or go in search of food and then they die.”
Will the same thing happen in Texas?
Another warm weather state, Mississippi, has had the fungus longer than Texas but hasn’t seen white-nose syndrome develop.
“There’s a lot we still don’t know about,” Evans said.
Texas has 33 species of bats and officials estimate white-nose syndrome could harm eight of them. In Texas, the fungus has been detected on 43 cave myotis, 13 Mexican free-tailed bats and four tri-colored bats.
The Worst Disease Ever Recorded
A doomsday fungus known as Bd has condemned more species to extinction than any other pathogen.
“Based on their track record in other states, we’re certainly worried,” Evans said, referring to tri-colored bats.
It’s uncertain how Mexican free-tailed bats, the most common in Texas, will fare.
“Since the free-tailed bat doesn’t hibernate, it may not impact them,” Evans said. “The downside is they may be a vector for spreading the fungus since free-tailed bats are found as far south as Chile and Argentina and along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.”
Arlington resident Kate Rugroden is chairwoman of the White-nose Syndrome Stakeholders Committee and vice president/treasurer at Bat World Sanctuary in Weatherford. She said bats are vitally important to the ecosystem and the economy.
One brown bat, which is about the size of a human thumb, can eat 4 to 8 grams of insects per night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A 2011 Science magazine report estimated the value of bats to agriculture could be between $3.7 billion and $53 billion per year.
“Bats are essential to life,” Rugroden said. “They are a keystone species. They have a huge job to do.”
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Candida auris: Dangerous fungus spreads in the body at lightning speed
In the USA, Great Britain, India - but also in Germany - numerous illnesses with the dangerous yeast Candida auris have been recorded in recent months. Experts also expect a further increase for Germany. As a rule, skin fungi are not dangerous, but this is highly contagious and very aggressive and can be deadly.
There are at least 800 registered cases worldwide. In the United States, the health service detected 77 cases in seven states by May 2017. In Europe, there was lastWhat is "Candidis auris" for a fungus? with 50 cases in a London hospital. According to the National Reference Center for Invasive Fungal Infections (NRZMyk) in Germany are only isolated cases, so far five.
The fungus called Candida auris is a particularly insidious yeast fungus. He is difficult to identify with the common laboratory methods. Experts therefore expect a higher number of unreported cases. In addition, the fungus is resistant to almost all agents commonly used to treat fungal infections and spreads rapidly through the bloodstream in the human body.
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