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In a follow-up on the report on a suspected anthrax outbreak in Yogyakarta, at least twelve residents of Gunungkidul Regency, Yogyakarta Special Region, have been confirmed to have contracted anthrax, according to a Kompas report.

Bacillus anthracis/CDC

This was confirmed  after the Gunungkidul Health Office examined a sample of 26 residents at the Bogor Veterinary Research Center (BBLivet). Residents whose samples were sent had blisters on their skin, similar to symptoms of anthrax.

“(12 are positive), the others are negative,” said Dewi Irawaty, head of the Gunungkidul Health Service, when contacted on Wednesday [9 Feb 2022]. Residents who tested positive for anthrax live in Kapanewon Gedangsari [Gedangsari district] and Kapanewon Ponjong. The Gunungkidul Health Office is said to be still monitoring the location of the emergence of anthrax cases. “Surveillance is still being carried out,” said Dewi.

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Dewi said anthrax is a zoonotic disease, which is only transmitted from animals to humans, not between humans. However, she said the basis for preventing anthrax depends on the behavior of residents, who have to be selective in choosing fresh meat and make sure it is from healthy animals.

Meanwhile, for the handling of livestock, the Gunungkidul Livestock and Animal Health Service has made a series of efforts to minimize the spread. Head of the Animal Health Division at the Gunungkidul Livestock and Animal Health Service (DPKH), Retno Widyastuti, suggested that livestock such as cattle and goats that were dead should be buried immediately. He explained that the highest risk of anthrax transmission occurred when the cattle were sick and then slaughtered.