Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wildlife Diseases Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 words

Wildlife Diseases - Essay Example Research has shown that the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans is the primary cause of the disease. A 2011 study reveals that 100% of healthy bats infected with this fungus cultured from diseased bats exhibited lesions and symptoms characteristic of the condition (in adherence to Koch’s postulate). The fungus thrives in low temperatures especially those between 4-15̊C (39-59̊F) and cannot withstand temperatures above 20̊C (68̊F). Consequently, it appears to favor infecting hibernating birds (Griggs, Keel, Castle & Wong, 2012). Some of the symptoms commonly associated with WNS are loss of body fats, unusual winter behavior such as flying, damaging and scaring of wing membranes and eventually death. The disease causes bats to rouse too frequently from torpor/ temporary hibernation and starve to death as a result of excessive activity. Most scientists and researchers, after extensive laboratory tests, believe that the condition is spread primarily through bat-to-bat transmission. Similar studies indicate that healthy birds in cages adjacent to those of infected bats do not catch the disease or develop symptoms. This means the fungus/ causal agent is not airborne and enhances the theory of contact transmission (Griggs, Keel, Castle & Wong, 2012). The fungus is thought to have originated from Europe because of the resistance exhibited by bats from such areas to the pathogen. They seem to have developed immunity over time and acted as vectors spreading the pathogen to the susceptible bats of the rest of the world (particularly those of North America).

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