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DNR confirms bat disease in southwestern Wisconsin

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MADISON (AP) — Wildlife officials have confirmed a deadly bat disease has reached Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that tests completed earlier this month show at least two bats in a Grant County mine had white-nose syndrome. Visual surveys of 85 other mine and cave sites this winter didn’t turn up any other signs of the disease but the DNR is awaiting test results on samples collected at 19 of those sites.

White-nose syndrome, so named for the white fuzz that grows on bats’ noses, wings and tails, causes hibernating bats to frequently wake from hibernation, depleting their energy reserves and leading to starvation or dehydration.

The disease has been confirmed in 23 other states so far. It has killed as many as 5 million bats since 2006.