In a follow-up on the report of an anthrax outbreak in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, health officials report a new case of anthrax occurred in Dukuh Jati, Candirejo Village, Semanu District, Gunung Kidul Regency due to consuming beef that suddenly died and had been buried. As a result, three people died from May to June 2023. Of the three cases that died, one case was sampled and diagnosed with suspected anthrax.
From 18 to 26 May 2023 there was a sudden death of a number of livestock in the form of cows and goats belonging to residents of Dukuh Jati. The livestock that died were then slaughtered and distributed to residents for consumption.
One of the residents (WP) who had slaughtered livestock that died suddenly complained of fever, dizziness, cough, swollen glands and swollen stomach. The Health Service and the Gunung Kidul Animal Husbandry and Animal Health Service then took samples of the soil where he slaughtered the animal for research.
The results on June 1, 2023 were known to be positive for anthrax spores from the soil samples taken. On June 3 2023, WP was finally referred to Sardjito Hospital and a blood sample was taken with a suspected diagnosis of anthrax. The day after, WP was declared dead.
Director of Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases of the Indonesian Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) dr. Imran Pambudi, MPHM said the Regional Government Organizations related to the Semanu District One Health Task Force provided prophylactic treatment to exposed populations for prevention. Until now there are 125 people who are given prophylactic treatment in Gunung Kidul, 87 of them are seropositive.
Seropositive means that the patient has been exposed to anthrax, but without clinical symptoms. This is because antibodies have already formed in his body.
‘So the 87 people are seropositive without symptoms. Therefore we cannot put it in the positive category of anthrax, and these are the people who will be given prophylactic treatment,” said dr. Imran at an online press conference, Thursday.
The Ministry of Health also appealed through a circular to all Health Services and health facilities in DI Yogyakarta to increase awareness of anthrax incidents in humans and anticipate the spread of anthrax to other areas.
Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax generally attacks herbivorous animals such as cows, goats, sheep, which can be transmitted to humans.
When in contact with air, the bacteria that cause anthrax form spores that are highly resistant to certain environmental conditions and chemicals. These spores can survive for more than 40 years in soil.
Anthrax spores can be transmitted to livestock and humans can become infected if they consume livestock and can also directly enter the human body through wounds on the body.
To prevent transmission, there are a number of symptoms of anthrax in livestock that need to be watched out for. Director of Animal Health, Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture drh. Nuryani Zainuddin said the clinical symptoms of anthrax in animals were high fever at the start of infection, anxiety, difficulty breathing, convulsions, collapse, and ended in death.
Other common symptoms such as bleeding in the nostrils and mouth of the animal. It is not uncommon for livestock to experience sudden death without showing clinical symptoms.
”Animals that die from this disease need to be burned or buried to prevent transmission. Cannot be dissected or slaughtered,” he said.
Anthrax is a disease that cannot be eradicated, but can only be controlled because it forms spores in the soil and in the environment. There are several precautions that can be taken against livestock, namely through vaccination, controlling livestock traffic, and disposing of infected animals.
Nationally, the Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan) has allocated 96 thousand doses of anthrax prevention activities through the provision of vaccines and operations every year, including in 2023.
There are also activities to observe and identify anthrax through surveillance and sampling for early detection.
”We provide 110 thousand doses of vaccine for the central buffer stock. Outbreaks of animal diseases such as the one that occurred in Gunung Kidul, where there was actually an allocation of vaccine beforehand, but because there is an outbreak, it is necessary to expand vaccination to areas that are still free,” said drh. Nuryani.
Director of Veterinary Public Health of the Ministry of Agriculture Syamsul Maarif said that regarding anthrax, his party plays a role in preventing the transmission of diseases from animals and from animal products to humans.
This is done by forming zoonoses cadres to build active participation and community responsibility in zoonoses control and prevention activities.
”The duties of zoonoses cadres are communication, information, and education to the public. Mobilizing the community in controlling and overcoming zoonoses, then assisting official officers in controlling and overcoming zoonoses,” said Syamsul.
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