KOR WNS Statement   (updated June 2012)

Tim Williams

KOR is taking steps to be proactive in preventing the spread of WNS. As in previous years, we REQUIRE all caving participants to please arrive on site with cave clothes and equipment clean and decontaminated using the FWS recommended procedures. Trip leaders will check to determine if participants' clothing and gear is satisfactory. If not, you may be asked to change or not participate. Trip leaders decisions will be final. A cleaning and decontamination station will be available near the entrance to the camping area.

If you observe live or dead bats (multiple individuals in a single location) that appear to exhibit signs of WNS, first and foremost, you should alert the person who has the established relationship with the landowner of the cave. DO NOT contact the landowner unless you are this person. If you are unsure of how to best do this, then please contact a member of the Greater Cincinnati Grotto. Document the location of the cave and, if the landowner agrees, the relationship owner will contact a local wildlife professional. Do not handle bats unless properly trained, vaccinated for rabies, and permitted to do so by the appropriate government agency.

The key is to decontaminate after every trip into a different cave. It is critically important to disinfect thoroughly or use new gear when caving in a new area or when you return from a cave trip in a region away from where you regularly cave. If your gear cannot be decontaminated before your next trip then do not use it or do not go into the cave. Similarly, if you plan on caving in more than one cave or cave area and will be unable to decontaminate your gear between trips then bring a fresh set of gear for each cave on your trip. Under no circumstances should clothing, footwear or equipment that was used in a WNS-affected state or region be used in a WNS-unaffected state or region.

When you arrive at your vehicle after caving remove all of your gear and put it in a plastic bag to prevent contamination of other items and your vehicle. At home, dispose of this and all other plastic bags used to transport gear so that they do not contaminate clean equipment.

At home, remove as much dirt/mud as possible from boots, packs, clothes, ropes, harnesses and other safety gear before washing and sanitizing. Next, rinse all equipment with a hose. After this rinse, you may wash cave clothing in your washing machine. Safety gear such as harnesses and ropes may be washed in a machine using water below 90°F and a pH-neutral, non-beach detergent like Woolite or Ivory Snow. Do not use a spin cycle or a tumble dryer for this safety gear. Boots, helmets and other remaining gear should be thoroughly washed and rinsed with a hose.

While other disinfectant(s) with similar chemical formulas (e.g., a minimum of 0.3% quaternary ammonium compound, etc.) or water-based applications may exist, laboratory testing has determined that the following options are known to kill the conidia of G.d when employed for a minimum of 10 minutes, unless specified otherwise:

  • Submersion in hot water - Effective at sustained temperatures >50°C (122°F) for 15 minutes
  • Lysol® IC Quaternary Disinfectant Cleaner - Effective at 1:128 dilution, or 1 ounce of concentrate per gallon of water
  • Professional Lysol® Antibacterial All-purpose Cleaner - Effective at 1:128 dilution, or 1 ounce of concentrate per gallon of water
  • Formula 409® Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner - Effective at concentrations specified by label
  • Clorox® (6% HOCl) Bleach - Effective at 1:10 dilution (bleach : water)
  • Lysol® Disinfecting Wipes - Effective at 0.28% dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (useful for cameras, etc)

As a reminder, safety critical gear like ropes, harnesses, etc. must not be exposed to bleach or bleach products, boiling water, or tumble drying. There is currently limited information on the safety of using quaternary disinfectants on ropes and harnesses (tests on Sterling ropes have shown no loss of strength after 5 stressed treatments), so it is recommended that you should dedicate specific safety gear for specific caves or a small geographic area.

Once all of your gear is clear, use a clean bag or container to re-pack gear so that you do not contaminate with non-sanitized equipment.

The KOR decon station will have water supplies for washing and rinsing gear as well as a supply of quaternary disinfectant at the correct concentration for decontamination.

Decon Station