Three Missouri bats are confirmed to have white nose syndrome, found north of the St. Louis area.
The disease can be deadly for the animals. This year, cases of bats with white-nose syndrome were discovered in the Eastern United States a few weeks ago. The disease slowly made its way west of the Mississippi River. One brown bat and two tri-colored bats were found in two public caves in Lincoln County with the disease.
Tony Elliott is with the Missouri Department of Conservation. He says these are the first-ever confirmed white nose syndrome cases in the state.
"Unfortunately, it means the disease has arrived," said Elliott. "In Missouri, there is no reason to believe in a couple years, we won’t be seeing major mortalities in the state."
Elliott also says he expects bat mortality to increase in 2013 or 2014. The two Lincoln county caves are currently closed to public access.