white-nose syndrome

(Marvin Moriarity/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Updated at 4:10 p.m. to include quotes from IDNR and 4:23 p.m. to include map.

Officials in Illinois have found the first cases of a devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome in that state.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says laboratory tests confirmed the fungal disease in two species of bat in four counties. Those include Monroe County in the Metro East, LaSalle County in north-central Illinois, and Hardin and Pope Counties in the southern part of the state.

(Marvin Moriarity/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Biologists are tracking the Indiana bat at their summer locations through sites in Missouri and Illinois, hoping to gather information that will help numbers rebound for the endangered species.

The bat hibernates in caves in the winter and summers in forested areas, most frequently in the central United States.

A disease that has killed more than 5.5 million bats in the eastern United States and Canada is making its way west. White-nose syndrome has now been diagnosed in three Missouri bats — the first confirmed cases west of the Mississippi. And scientists say it won't stop there.

(Marvin Moriarity/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Updated at 3:00 p.m. to clarify and expand description of white-nose syndrome.

A disease that has killed millions of bats across the eastern U.S. has been confirmed in Missouri for the first time.