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Living With Bats

Other Diseases

While bats are associated with a number of diseases in other parts of the world, bats in Alaska are relatively free of diseases that pose threats to human health.


Histoplasmosis is a respiratory disease caused by a fungus that grows in soil enriched by bird and sometimes bat droppings. Lung infection can occur. The symptoms of Histoplasmosis are similar to pneumonia and the infection can become serious if not fatal if left untreated. Most human cases are found in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys and adjacent areas where warm, humid conditions favor fungal growth. Cases of Histoplasmosis from bats have NOT occurred in Alaska.

For more information on Histoplasmosis:

White Nose Syndrome

White nose syndrome

White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a disease that affects hibernating bats. WNS does not affect humans. The disease was named after the white fungus found on the noses of most infected bats. The first known case of WNS appeared in New York in 2006. The disease has since spread across eastern and Midwestern North America. Scientists estimate that over six million bats have died of WNS. At some cave sites, nearly 100% of the bats have died. Although WNS has not been found in Alaska - yet, on March 11, 2016, a little brown bat with WNS was found by hikers just 30 miles east of Seattle, Washington. Humans most likely played a role in spreading the fungus to Washington, either by transporting the fungus on clothing or caving gear or accidentally transporting an infected stowaway bat in a boat or vehicle. Because most western bat species do not hibernate in large numbers in caves and mines the way they do back east, detecting and monitoring the spread of WNS in the West is going to be a challenge. You can help! If you find a dead bat in the winter or early spring (November - early May), please contact ADF&G immediately. If you have bats in your home or outbuilding, please complete our online bat observation form.

For more information on White Nose Syndrome: