Bat-killing fungus found in two Washington state counties

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — A bat-killing disease called white-nose syndrome has been discovered in two more Washington state counties, according to state and federal wildlife agencies.

The infected droppings of two bats were found in Snohomish and Chelan counties in northern and central Washington, the Skagit Valley Herald reported Tuesday.

White-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats since it was first discovered on the East Coast of the U.S. in 2006.

The syndrome is caused by a fungus and often kills hibernating bats, according to the state Department of Fish & Wildlife.

White discoloration on bat noses is a telltale sign of infection. The disease does not affect humans or any other species.

The state wildlife agency has said bats benefit humans by eating insects that can negatively affect forest health and livestock.

Samples collected from known Washington state bat-dwelling areas are being sent to the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin for testing.