White-nose syndrome spreads from bat to bat, but it’s also believed to spread when people move from cave to cave with contaminated gear.
Research has demonstrated that the fungal pathogen can live in cave soils and can be transported on clothing and gear into new sites. Strong evidence points to the probability that the fungus was originally transported by people to North America from Europe — where the fungus has been identified on bats in 12 countries but does not negatively affect them.
That’s why in January 2010, the Center filed an emergency petition seeking to prohibit all-but-essential human travel in caves and abandoned mines on federal lands in the lower 48 states.
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