The popular video game turned HBO/Max TV series “The Last of Us” has taken the world by storm.
A post-apocalyptic reality where the earth has warmed to a point where a fungus evolves to infect humans, killing its host and spreading rapidly through the population.
It’s an intriguing storyline, and while the TV show’s newfound popularity is probably at least 50 percent due to a swoon-worthy hunk Pedro Pascal playing the lead – the script seems to be coming to life in BC.
Only not with humans…yet.
A fungus causing mass death in bat populations across North America has reached BC.
The bat fungus doesn’t have quite as catchy a name as Cordyceps (watch the show), but Pseudogymnoascus destructans is definitely catching on regardless.
According to the BC Ministry of Land and Resource Stewardship, Destructans (we’re making the name catchier) causes white-nose syndrome in bats and have been found in bat guano (feces) in the Grand Forks area.
The ministry has been monitoring for the fungus since 2016 when it was first detected on the west coast of the United States.
It infects the bat’s skin and is extremely fatal in most cases, spreading rapidly.
Unlike the strain of Cordyceps the Last of Us deals with, Destructans still only thrives in dark, damp areas. That’s why it’s such a threat to cave-dwelling bats, not us humans.
But watch out if you live in a cave!
The fungus originated in New York state and has spread to 38 US states and eight provinces in Canada since 2006.
Three Canadian bat species have been listed as “endangered” under the Federal Species at Risk Act since the syndrome appeared in Canada.
If you see a bat that’s acting weird, don’t touch it.
Contact the ministry or BC Community Bat Program if you see them flying during the day or doing anything else out of the ordinary.
The same goes for dead bats. Ew.
Humans can transfer the fungus through contaminated clothing or direct contact.
If you’ve been watching The Last of Us, we don’t have to remind you to be careful.
The ministry statement said several agencies are upgrading surveillance for the syndrome.
Hopefully, that’s enough to prevent another Zombie apocalypse.