Officials find first cases of devastating bat disease in Illinois

Officials in Illinois have found the first cases of a devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome in that state. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says laboratory tests confirmed the fungal disease in two species of bat in four counties, including Monroe County in the Metro East. IDNR endangered species manager Joe Kath says bats play an important role in the environment — and in our economy.

“It is estimated that bats likely save the U.S. agricultural industry between two to four billion dollars a year, because of the pest control services they provide by simply eating insects that predate upon agricultural crops.”

Nationwide, white-nose syndrome is estimated to have killed more than five-and-a-half-million bats, most in the eastern U.S. The disease was first confirmed in Missouri in April of last year.