White-nose syndrome disease severity and a comparison of diagnostic methods

Liam McGuire, Lisa Warnecke, James M Turner, Glenna McGregor, Trent K Bollinger, Vikram Misra, Jeffrey T Foster, Winnifred F Frick, A Marm Kilpatrick, Craig KR Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


White-nose syndrome is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans and has killed millions of hibernating bats in North America but the pathophysiology of the disease remains poorly understood. Our objectives were to: 1) assess non-destructive diagnostic methods for P. destructans infection compared to histopathology, the current gold-standard, and 2) to evaluate potential metrics of disease severity. We used data from three captive inoculation experiments involving 181 little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus) to compare histopathology, quantitative PCR (qPCR), and ultraviolet fluorescence as diagnostic methods of P. destructans infection. To assess disease severity we considered two histology metrics (wing area with fungal hyphae, area of dermal necrosis), fungal load (qPCR), ultraviolet fluorescence, and blood chemistry (hematocrit, sodium, glucose, pCO2, and bicarbonate). Quantitative PCR was most effective for early detection of P. destructans, while all three methods were com
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-71
StatePublished - Mar 11 2016


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