Health ministry sends team to handle anthrax case

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto has dispatched a special team to examine and handle the spread of anthrax in Ponjong and Semanu Subdistricts in Gunung Kidul District, Yogyakarta Province.

"My team has been deployed in the district because the spores are there. We are directly monitoring and examining that," he told journalists at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta Thursday while commenting on the spread of anthrax in Gunung Kidul District.

In helping to cure those who tested positive, the health ministry supplied antibiotics, he said and added that anthrax might have infected several residents who consumed the meat of a dead cow.

On January 4, 2020 the health workers found that 600 residents of the two subdistricts could have been affected by anthrax, and 78 of them were observed to have the clinical features of this disease, Head of the Disease Prevention and Control Unit at the Gunung Kidul Health Office Sumitro said.

The local health authorities sent the blood samples of the victims for tests. The result showed that 27 people had tested positive to the disease, he told journalists.

The infected residents had been administered antibiotic prophylaxis for 20 days, and were required to undergo another blood test at Bogor city's BBVEt facilities in West Java Province, Sumitro said.

The residents who were suffering from the general signs and symptoms of this anthrax were just administered an antibiotic, he said, adding that the infected residents were not isolated because the disease was not contagious.

"Anthrax is a major cause of fatalities in cattle, sheep, goats, camels, horses, and pigs throughout the world," the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated.

It had caused the death of the owner of the infected cow because he had consumed meat of the dead cow and regularly cleaned the cattle cage, Sumitro further said.

In halting the spread of the disease, the district's health authorities had closely coordinated with those from the Food and Agriculture Office regarding education and public awareness campaign programs.

"We have also disseminated information to the people at large urging them to cook all meat properly, and not to consume the meat of ailing animals," he added.

The anthrax poisoning cases have repeatedly occurred in certain parts of Indonesia over these past few years. But, according to Widagdo Sri Nugroho, a University of Gadjah Mada (UGM)'s veterinarian, "anthrax is found in almost all countries."

He was quoted by the UGM's official website (2017) as saying that "Of 180 states that join veterinary health organizations, anthrax is found in 94 percent of states. In Indonesia, it has been identified since 1884 in Teluk Betung, Lampung."

Some 22 provinces in Indonesia are endemic, Nugroho noted. In handling the disease, farmers need to be aware of their cattle's condition and are urged to contact veterinarians who would examine their cattle for any indications of anthrax, he added.

Source: Antara News

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