JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A bat found in a southern Missouri cave has tested positive for deadly white-nose syndrome.
The Missouri Department of Conservation says the bat was found in the entrance of Onondaga Cave in Crawford County, about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis.
White-nose syndrome does not infect people, pets or livestock but is estimated to have killed 5.5 million cave-dwelling bats nationwide since it first was detected in 2006.
The disease is caused by a fungus. It spreads largely through contact among bats and can be spread among caves through human clothing and equipment.
Conservation officials say signs of white-nose syndrome or the fungus have now been confirmed in 15 bats in six Missouri counties. The disease has been confirmed in 19 states and four Canadian provinces.