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Experimental infection of bats with Geomyces destructans causes white-nose syndrome.
Nature. 2011 Oct 26; 480(7377):376-8.Nat

Abstract

White-nose syndrome (WNS) has caused recent catastrophic declines among multiple species of bats in eastern North America. The disease's name derives from a visually apparent white growth of the newly discovered fungus Geomyces destructans on the skin (including the muzzle) of hibernating bats. Colonization of skin by this fungus is associated with characteristic cutaneous lesions that are the only consistent pathological finding related to WNS. However, the role of G. destructans in WNS remains controversial because evidence to implicate the fungus as the primary cause of this disease is lacking. The debate is fuelled, in part, by the assumption that fungal infections in mammals are most commonly associated with immune system dysfunction. Additionally, the recent discovery that G. destructans commonly colonizes the skin of bats of Europe, where no unusual bat mortality events have been reported, has generated further speculation that the fungus is an opportunistic pathogen and that other unidentified factors are the primary cause of WNS. Here we demonstrate that exposure of healthy little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) to pure cultures of G. destructans causes WNS. Live G. destructans was subsequently cultured from diseased bats, successfully fulfilling established criteria for the determination of G. destructans as a primary pathogen. We also confirmed that WNS can be transmitted from infected bats to healthy bats through direct contact. Our results provide the first direct evidence that G. destructans is the causal agent of WNS and that the recent emergence of WNS in North America may represent translocation of the fungus to a region with a naive population of animals. Demonstration of causality is an instrumental step in elucidating the pathogenesis and epidemiology of WNS and in guiding management actions to preserve bat populations against the novel threat posed by this devastating infectious disease.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

22031324

Citation

Lorch, Jeffrey M., et al. "Experimental Infection of Bats With Geomyces Destructans Causes White-nose Syndrome." Nature, vol. 480, no. 7377, 2011, pp. 376-8.
Lorch JM, Meteyer CU, Behr MJ, et al. Experimental infection of bats with Geomyces destructans causes white-nose syndrome. Nature. 2011;480(7377):376-8.
Lorch, J. M., Meteyer, C. U., Behr, M. J., Boyles, J. G., Cryan, P. M., Hicks, A. C., Ballmann, A. E., Coleman, J. T., Redell, D. N., Reeder, D. M., & Blehert, D. S. (2011). Experimental infection of bats with Geomyces destructans causes white-nose syndrome. Nature, 480(7377), 376-8. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10590
Lorch JM, et al. Experimental Infection of Bats With Geomyces Destructans Causes White-nose Syndrome. Nature. 2011 Oct 26;480(7377):376-8. PubMed PMID: 22031324.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Experimental infection of bats with Geomyces destructans causes white-nose syndrome. AU - Lorch,Jeffrey M, AU - Meteyer,Carol U, AU - Behr,Melissa J, AU - Boyles,Justin G, AU - Cryan,Paul M, AU - Hicks,Alan C, AU - Ballmann,Anne E, AU - Coleman,Jeremy T H, AU - Redell,David N, AU - Reeder,DeeAnn M, AU - Blehert,David S, Y1 - 2011/10/26/ PY - 2011/08/17/received PY - 2011/09/22/accepted PY - 2011/10/28/entrez PY - 2011/10/28/pubmed PY - 2012/2/24/medline SP - 376 EP - 8 JF - Nature JO - Nature VL - 480 IS - 7377 N2 - White-nose syndrome (WNS) has caused recent catastrophic declines among multiple species of bats in eastern North America. The disease's name derives from a visually apparent white growth of the newly discovered fungus Geomyces destructans on the skin (including the muzzle) of hibernating bats. Colonization of skin by this fungus is associated with characteristic cutaneous lesions that are the only consistent pathological finding related to WNS. However, the role of G. destructans in WNS remains controversial because evidence to implicate the fungus as the primary cause of this disease is lacking. The debate is fuelled, in part, by the assumption that fungal infections in mammals are most commonly associated with immune system dysfunction. Additionally, the recent discovery that G. destructans commonly colonizes the skin of bats of Europe, where no unusual bat mortality events have been reported, has generated further speculation that the fungus is an opportunistic pathogen and that other unidentified factors are the primary cause of WNS. Here we demonstrate that exposure of healthy little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) to pure cultures of G. destructans causes WNS. Live G. destructans was subsequently cultured from diseased bats, successfully fulfilling established criteria for the determination of G. destructans as a primary pathogen. We also confirmed that WNS can be transmitted from infected bats to healthy bats through direct contact. Our results provide the first direct evidence that G. destructans is the causal agent of WNS and that the recent emergence of WNS in North America may represent translocation of the fungus to a region with a naive population of animals. Demonstration of causality is an instrumental step in elucidating the pathogenesis and epidemiology of WNS and in guiding management actions to preserve bat populations against the novel threat posed by this devastating infectious disease. SN - 1476-4687 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/22031324/Experimental_infection_of_bats_with_Geomyces_destructans_causes_white_nose_syndrome_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10590 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -