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USGS - science for a changing world

J. Paul White

Before the discovery of white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, there were no reports of fungal skin infections in bats during hibernation. In 2011, bats with grossly visible fungal skin infections similar in appearance to WNS were reported from multiple sites in Wisconsin, USA, a state outside the known range of P. destructans and WNS at that time. Tape impressions or swab samples were collected from affected areas of skin from bats with these fungal infections in 2012 and analyzed by microscopy, culture, or direct DNA amplification and sequencing of the fungal internal transcribed spacer region (ITS). A psychrophilic species ofTrichophyton was isolated in culture, detected...
White-nose syndrome (WNS) caused by the fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) has killed millions of North American insect-eating bats. Currently, methods to prevent the disease are limited. We conducted two trials to assess potential WNS vaccine candidates in wild-caught Myotis lucifugus. In a pilot study, we immunized bats with one of four vaccine treatments or PBS as a control and challenged them with Pd upon transfer into hibernation chambers. Bats in one vaccine-treated group, that received raccoon poxviruses (RCN) expressing Pd calnexin (CAL) and serine protease (SP), developed WNS at a lower rate (1/10) than other treatments combined (14/23), although samples sizes were small. The results of a second...
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