Virginia Cave Board: Caving discouraged during pandemic due to possible human-to-bat virus spread

Virginia

Stalactites and a stalagmites are seen on August 11, 2012 in Luray Caverns in Luray, Viriginia. The stalactite is above, and hangs downward like an icicle while the stalagmite is below and sticks up. They grow in pairs, the slightly acidic water dissolves some of the limestone, carrying it downward. When the water evaporates, the limestone appears to have flowed downward. Some of the water does not evaporate until it has fallen through the air, and landed on the floor, the remaining limestone and minerals build the stalagmite. Often, the stalactite and stalagmite will connect, and become a column. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/GettyImages)

RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) – The Virginia Cave Board is discouraging Virginians from going caving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a release from VCB, social distancing is difficult to maintain while caving.

VCB also says there is a potential for human-to-bat transmission of COVID-19 while caving, as well as other dangers.

While restrictions on Virginia campgrounds have been eased, VCB says caves are a danger due to their poor ventilation and tight, enclosed spaces.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has temporarily closed access to caves on the agency’s land to prevent the possibility of human-to-bat transmission of the virus.

VCB says scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have expressed concern over the possibility that “sustained infections could develop in wildlife populations that would harm wildlife and/or create a wildlife reservoir for the human pathogen.”

VCB said in the release that they are strongly discouraging any caving in lands outside of the agency’s jurisdiction.

You can read the full statement by clicking here.


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