ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Officials have confirmed the presence of a disease that kills hibernating bats at a state park in northern Minnesota.

The Department of Natural Resources says several hundred bats have been found dead near the mine entrance at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park since late January. Tests confirm the bats were infected with white-nose syndrome.

The disease is named for the fuzzy white growth of fungus observed on infected bats. The fungus was detected in 2013 at both Soudan Underground Mine and Forestville/Mystery Cave state parks in Minnesota. The DNR says it's typical for the disease to appear two to three years after the fungus.

The disease has spread to 27 states and five provinces since 2007. Officials say a decline in bat populations could lead to higher mosquito numbers.