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      Missouri bat found to have white-nose syndrome

      This is a file photo, not one of the infected bats.

      JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A bat found in a southern Missouri cave has tested positive for deadly white-nose syndrome.

      The Missouri Department of Conservation says the bat was found in the entrance of Onondaga Cave in Crawford County, about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis.

      White-nose syndrome does not infect people, pets or livestock but is estimated to have killed 5.5 million cave-dwelling bats nationwide since it first was detected in 2006.

      The disease is caused by a fungus. It spreads largely through contact among bats and can be spread among caves through human clothing and equipment.

      Conservation officials say signs of white-nose syndrome or the fungus have now been confirmed in 15 bats in six Missouri counties. The disease has been confirmed in 19 states and four Canadian provinces.