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Bat-killing fungus discovered in NC

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- State wildlife officials say a deadly fungus that has killed countless bats across the eastern United States has reached North Carolina.

The Wildlife Resources Commission said Wednesday that cases of white-nose syndrome have been found in Avery County and at Grandfather Mountain State Park.

Scientists don't fully understand the disease, but think it's caused by a newly discovered fungus that forms white patches on the muzzles of infected bats.

The illness was first detected in New York in 2006, and has since spread north to Canada and as far south as Tennessee and now North Carolina.

Officials think humans may play a role in spreading the fungus and are asking people to stay out of caves and other places where bats congregate.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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