Tuesday morning, officials with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed that Georgia has its first cases of white nose syndrome.
The disease is responsible for the death of millions of bats in the eastern United States..
Bats displaying the symptoms of the disease were found in Lookout Mountain Cave and Sittons Cave, both in Dade County within the last month. Bats were collected from both sites and sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens where the disease was confirmed.
The name comes from a white fungus, Geomyces destructans, that is often found on the muzzles, ears and wings of infected bats and is spread between bats. Officials say there is no evidence that the fungus infects humans or other animals, but spores may be carried cave-to-cave by people on clothing or gear.
Cases have been found in 22 states including New York, South Carolina, Alabama, and five Canadian provinces, leading to the estimated death toll of 5,700,000 to 6,700,00 bats.