The effects of the disease are dramatic as well as vicious. Once the fungus ends up on the skin, it can colonize the nose and other areas of the body including the wings and ears. The hyphae of the pathogen can cause itchiness but can also eventually erode the skin, causing ulcers. This unfortunately means a disruption in winter hibernation as the animals are forced to wake up every few days to alleviate the itch by scratching. In the process, fat reserves are depleted and the animals become prone to starvation. Without proper nutritional resources, particularly in winter, starvation may take over, leading to an agonizing death.