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Michigan DNR confirms white nose syndrome in Upper Peninsula

MARINETTE, WI (WTAQ) -Just hours after a devastating bat disease was confirmed in Wisconsin, we learned that it's knocking on the state's territorial door from Upper Michigan.

The DNR in that state said Thursday that white nose syndrome was confirmed in bats located in three counties -- including Dickinson County in the UP, which is very close to Marinette and Florence counties in far northeast Wisconsin.

Officials have warned us for several years that white-nose syndrome would hit Wisconsin at any time, after it was found close to the Badger State in neighboring Iowa and Illinois.

Thursday, the Wisconsin DNR said the disease finally arrived. It was confirmed in bats hibernating at an old mine in Grant County in the southwest part of the state.

Officials were quick to point out that white-nose syndrome does not directly affect humans. But it does have the potential to wipe out entire species of bats that protect people, by eating the bugs that damage farm crops and the infectious mosquitoes that could give you Lyme disease or the West Nile virus.

It also affects tourism, as many cave visitors must wipe their shoes so they don't spread anything.

White-nose syndrome has killed nearly six million bats in the U.S. and northeast Canada since it was first spotted in New York in 2006.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)