Mysterious bat disease confirmed in Maine

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A mysterious disease that has killed more than a million bats in the eastern and southern United States has arrived in Maine.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said Tuesday it has received confirmation that the disease known as white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in Maine.

The U.S. Interior Department launched a national plan last week to combat the disease, which is caused by a fungus.

First identified in upstate New York in 2006, white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in states from New England to Tennessee and in three Canadian provinces.

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One theory is that the fungus irritates the noses, wings and ears, causing bats to wake often during hibernation and burn so much energy that they starve to death before spring. It does not affect humans.

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