Humans can carry the fungus on their clothing or gear if it is not properly cleaned after visiting a cave with the fungus, but Rayman said humans' role in spreading the fungus has been minor. People are not at risk for catching the disease. Regardless, state authorities and the National Forest Service have closed caves throughout the country to prevent the spread of the fungus.
Rayman said the fungus thrives in cold caves with high humidity. She is hopeful that climate will help limit the scope of the damage, but they are looking at other solutions to the problem.
Researchers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are trying to find a treatment that would kill the fungus and have allocated $2 million for research on White-Nose Syndrome. They are still evaluating research proposals for that grant money, and Rayman said they are cautious in their efforts to slow down or stop the fungus.
"We don't want to do more harm than good," Rayman said. "There is still a lot more that we need to learn."