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TIP/White-nose Syndrome affecting bats in Wisconsin

April 16, 2014

TO: Media representatives
FROM: Nik Hawkins,, 608-263-6914

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced on April 10 that white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed as many as five million bats in 23 states since 2006, has spread to Wisconsin. Named for the white fuzz that grows on noses, wings and tails, the disease was found in two percent of bats in a single mine site in Grant County. The results of tests from additional sites are pending.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Veterinary Medicine houses several experts who can provide key insights into the cause, transmission, impact, and diagnosis of white-nose syndrome and the importance of preserving bat populations.

– Melissa Behr, a veterinarian and a clinical professor of veterinary pathology in the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, is an expert on the diagnosis of white-nose syndrome. She welcomes inquiries from the news media and members of the general public who believe they have found affected bats. Contact:, 608-262-5432, ext. 1226.

– David Blehert, an affiliate of the School of Veterinary Medicine and microbiologist at the U.S. Geological Survey assigned to the Midwest region, can field general questions related to white-nose syndrome. Contact:, 608-270-2466.

– Tony Goldberg, professor of epidemiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, is an expert on the ecology, epidemiology and evolution of infectious disease whose field and laboratory research explore how pathogens in dynamic ecosystems are transmitted among hosts, across complex landscapes, and over time. Contact:, (608) 890-2618.

– Jeffrey Lorch, a research associate at the School of Veterinary Medicine, focuses his research on the fungal cause of white-nose syndrome. He also can answer general questions about the disease. Contact:, 608-270-2400, ext. 2367.

– Michelle Verant, a veterinarian and a doctoral student in the School of Veterinary Medicine, can discuss the fungal cause of white-nose syndrome, why it kills bats, transmission of the disease, the impact on bat populations, and the importance of bats. Contact:

For more experts on the UW–Madison campus, visit

Tags: biosciences