Officials: Deadly bat fungus reaches Michigan

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Wildlife officials say a disease that has killed millions of bats in the U.S. and Canada has been detected in Michigan for the first time.

The state Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in Alpena, Dickinson and Mackinac counties.

The fungus was found on five little brown bats, which make up about 90 percent of Michigan's bat species.

DNR wildlife veterinarian Dan O'Brien says it's no surprise because white-nose syndrome has reached about two dozen states. Over 6 million bats have died.

The disease causes bats to wake frequently from hibernation, which saps their energy reserves and can lead to starvation.

Bats are valuable because they eat insects that otherwise would damage crops and trees.

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