Lethal bat fungus closer to a cure

Drugs combat bat fungus

Scientists have found multiple drugs that combat a fungal disease that has killed more than 1 million bats in the last few years, but now they are faced with the challenge of using the drugs in a safe and effective way, according to The Associated Press.

Lab tests done by New York state’s Department of Health in Albany—the city where the fungus was first discovered in 2006—found that certain drugs can fight the germs on bats directly, including the common antifungal drug fluconazole. Tests also found that antiseptics can be used to decontaminate the shoes of humans who visit areas where bats live and spread disease to one another, such as caves.

The fungus—known as “white nose syndrome”—grows on the nose, wings and ears. Several theories exists about why the fungus is lethal, including the possibility that it irritates the membranes and causes bats to come out of hibernation early and starve. Other scientists have found that the fungus may damage the wings, which are essential for controlling bodily functions such as blood pressure.