Field trial of a probiotic bacteria to protect bats from white-nose syndrome

  • Published source details Hoyt J.R., Langwig K.E., White J.P., Kaarakka H.M., Redell J.A., Parise K.L., Frick W.F., Foster J.T. & Kilpatrick A.M. (2019) Field trial of a probiotic bacteria to protect bats from white-nose syndrome. Scientific Reports, 9, 9158.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Treat bats for infection with white-nose syndrome

Action Link
Bat Conservation
  1. Treat bats for infection with white-nose syndrome

    A randomized, controlled study in 2015–2016 at a mine in Wisconsin, USA (Hoyt et al 2019) found that treating little brown bats Myotis lucifugus with a probiotic bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens increased survival for free-flying bats but not caged bats. A greater proportion of free-flying bats treated with the probiotic bacterium survived over winter (six of 13 bats, 46%) than untreated bats (one of 12 bats, 8%). Survival was unknown for five other free-flying bats that lost their tags. Survival and severity of white-nose syndrome did not differ for treated and untreated bats kept in cages within the mine (both: four of 15 bats survived, 26%). In November 2015, sixty bats infected with white-nose syndrome were captured within the mine and randomly assigned to a treatment group (probiotic bacterium sprayed on the wings and tail; 29 bats) or untreated control group (31 bats). Fifteen treated and 15 untreated bats were placed in two separate metal cages (46 x 30 x 51 cm) mounted to the mine ceiling. The other 30 bats (16 treated, 14 untreated) were fitted with tags and released.  Free-flying bats detected by a tag receiver at the mine entrance after 8 March 2016 were assumed to have survived over winter. Bats were removed from the cages in March 2016 and had one wing photographed under ultraviolet light to measure disease severity.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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