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DNR: No evidence of deadly bat disease in Wisconsin

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - There’s still no evidence that a deadly bat disease has hit Wisconsin.

The DNR said a recent survey of 73 hibernating locations found no evidence of white-nose syndrome.

The fungal disease has killed close to 6 million bats in the eastern U.S. since 2006.

Wisconsin officials are particularly concerned, because bats protect farm crops by killing insects. The disease causes bats to wake up during their hibernation. It rapidly depletes their energy supplies.

Wisconsin has performed three studies, and nothing has turned up so far.

Illinois confirmed white-nose syndrome in 4 counties so far this year. It was detected in 2012 in a cave in Iowa about 30 miles from the Wisconsin border.

The DNR has said it’s a matter of time before white-nose syndrome gets to the Badger State, and officials are doing their best to ward it off.

Visitors to caves are often asked to wipe off their shoes before entering and leaving, to prevent any disease from spreading.

A recent UW-Madison study found that infected caves where bats hibernate continue to have white-nose syndrome for at least two years after all surviving bats have left. It means that bats might not be able to rebuild their populations in a cave where the disease hits.