It seems the fungus kills infected individuals in more than one way. For hibernating bats, it’s normal to arouse periodically (wake up to perform routine bodily functions such as drinking, grooming and urinating). When they do, the sudden and massive immune response to the infection may kill them. The fungus may also alter bats’ behaviour upon arousal, such as by causing them to groom more or to leave the cave and start flying around – possibly a response to the depletion of their stored fat, which they accumulate over summer to help them survive winter.
Since WNS was discovered, it has killed millions of bats and has spread in all directions. Several species that were once common are now endangered due to this disease. The WNS Response Team is racing to study and combat this threat to bats in North America. It maintains updated info on the disease and provides many educational resources.