Beware of Zoonoses Anthrax is Outbreak in Gunung Kidul

%When IKN Comes, Indigenous People Are Worried That Traditions Will Disappear%

When residents eat dead cows, anthrax is endemic in Gunung Kidul Regency, Yogyakarta. Data from the Gunung Kidul Health Service (Dinkes) show that as many as 87 people have tested positive for this zoonotic disease, and one has died.

Dewi Irawaty, Head of the Gunung Kidul Health Service (Kadinkes), said it was revealed that dozens of residents were known from the results of laboratory tests by the Center for Veterinary Medicine. Of around 125 people examined, 87 people tested positive.

“Currently, no one is being treated at the hospital because almost all of them are asymptomatic,” he said when contacted by Mongabay, Wednesday (5/7/23) afternoon.

Dewi said that the emergence of the anthrax case started when a resident from Jati Hamlet, Semanu District, died early last June. The diagnosis revealed that he was positive for anthrax.

They then conducted surveillance until they found 125 residents who also consumed the meat.

“Initially we examined there were two positives. Then the second examination was 85, a total of 87 people were positive,” he said.

Dewi said the victim died in a maze. So far, he said, the mortality data (patients died) of anthrax cases is still one person, based on hospital diagnoses.

Not the first case

The Ministry of Agriculture said that anthrax is a group of zoonotic diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans. In Indonesia, this disease was first reported to have appeared in 1832 in Kolaka Regency, Southeast Sulawesi.

In May-June 2019, the Ministry of Health found three residents with confirmed anthrax. Then, from December 2019-January 2020, 21 people also experienced clinical symptoms of anthrax. One died.

Wibawanti said, Head of the Gunung Kidul Animal Husbandry Service, said that previously there was a similar case last year.

Wibawanti said that following the findings of the case, they immediately carried out surveillance and gave antibiotics to all of the residents’ livestock. Two weeks later, anti-anthrax vaccination.

“We are also coordinating with the head of the sub-village so that no livestock are taken out so that anthrax does not spread everywhere,” said Wibawanti.

He did not deny that as an endemic area, anthrax becomes a threat every year. Therefore, handling and prevention efforts follow the applicable procedures. He gave an example, of handling dead cows.

“The problem is, these cattle are dead. Not buried with a layer of cement, but in pieces (cut into pieces to distribute the meat). So it’s everywhere,” explained Wibawanti.

So far, a total of 77 cows and 286 sheep have been given antibiotics after the finding of the anthrax case. Then, in several locations where cases were previously found, watering with liquid containing 10% formalin was carried out. Until now, a total of 150 liters of formalin was spent on watering.

“For the past two months we have asked livestock from endemic areas not to be trafficked out for a while,” said Wibawanti.

In addition, meat from cattle with confirmed anthrax is also prohibited for consumption. The prohibition also applies to the manufacture of goods from animal materials or materials infected with anthrax. For example, handicrafts from horns, skin, bones, or fur.

Some handling efforts that can be done are not consuming sick or sudden-death livestock. Animals that are positive for anthrax should be buried at a minimum depth of two meters.

Incubation period 

Munawaroh, Chairperson of the Veterinary Doctors Association (PDHI), said that anthrax is a disease caused by bacteria spreading through spores.

The potential for spreading will be even greater when it rains. This is because spores that are in the soil or certain media have the opportunity to be carried away by the current. 

This is also what makes anthrax different from foot and mouth disease (FMD), which mostly affects cattle. FMD is caused by a virus, while anthrax is a bacteria.

Bacteria that enter the human body will spread. Organs that are attacked by anthrax bacteria eventually don’t function, such as the spleen then blackens.

Anthrax attacks are fast. In cattle, anthrax attacks are usually marked by symptoms of an increase in temperature above normal. After that, blood comes out of the holes in the cow’s body, such as ears, nostrils, or manure holes.

This is slightly different from the symptoms in humans. Someone with indications of having anthrax, he said, usually has itchy skin followed by breathing problems.

There are several causes of transmission of anthrax to humans. First, consuming beef or livestock that is confirmed to have this disease. Therefore, the method of prevention by NOT consuming meat is meant.

The first 14 days, he says, is the initial incubation period with mild symptoms. On the second 14 days, it’s normal to be in a severe stage because the bacteria that enter spreads and damages the organs in the body.

Apart from consuming meat, anthrax can also be transmitted through touch or body contact. “For example, there is someone who has cuts and wounds on meat or cows that are positive for anthrax, they can also be infected.”

For prevention, Munawaroh asked the government to immediately examine all healthy cows and vaccinate them.

In addition, prevention can be done by giving the right dose of antibiotics. “This vaccination should be routine. At least twice a year.”

Equally important, said Munawaroh, do localization. Cattle from endemic areas are prohibited from being brought out.

Because of that, he said, guarding the exits or borders between regions must be carried out. “If this is not done and spreads everywhere, the impact will be extraordinary both economically and socially.”

Wayan Tunas Artama, a zoonoses expert at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) said that the handling of anthrax can be controlled easily.

Anthrax, based on the Decree of the Minister of Agriculture No. 4026/2013, was designated as one of 25 strategic infectious animal diseases (PHMS).

Small Islands Have High Biodiversity and High Vulnerability

Development on small islands is not enough just to build various facilities, one of which is tourism. The existence of various facilities that support tourists on the one hand can be a threat to the preservation of natural resources on small islands. The government needs to develop a roadmap for sustainable development for small islands.

“It is necessary to pay attention to the carrying capacity of the environment of small islands,” said Professor of Marine Affairs at the University of Mataram Prof. Sitti Hilyana in a discussion on the Uniqueness of Biodiversity in Small Islands. This discussion was organized by Forest Watch Indonesia in collaboration with Pattimura University and Mataram University, Tuesday (27/6).

The Deputy Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Mataram said that small islands have a wealth of flora and fauna, underwater wealth which is still being explored. Natural wealth both on land and under the sea is an attraction for research and tourists. When tourism develops, small islands are developed into one of the tourist destinations. 

The excessive presence of tourists and the construction of facilities without regard for sustainability could become a new threat to wealth on these small islands. The presence of tourists on the one hand brings economic benefits, but the waste they produce can also become a new problem.

Likewise, the development of the agricultural and livestock sectors in small islands must calculate the carrying capacity of these small islands. Prof. Nana, nicknamed Sitti Hilyana, gave an example, if there is a large-scale farm on a small island, the waste can enter the waters. This will cause excessive fertility and in turn, can disrupt the coral reef ecosystem.

Professor Nana said that small islands have distinctive characteristics. Its biological richness is very diverse. Become a living laboratory for various research both on land and in the sea. For example on Satonda Island which is located in Dompu Regency. The island was formed through tectonic events. This lake also has a warmer temperature. In each meter, there is a temperature difference. This natural condition makes the fish in Satonda very unique. Likewise, Satonda Island is a habitat for thousands of bats, birds, and insects.

At the same time, Satonda is also being developed into a tourist destination. Tourists visit Satonda to enjoy snorkeling and see Lake Satonda. Prof. Nana reminded us that tourism development on small islands like Satonda does not just bring in lots of tourists.

Communities that inhabit small islands have diverse wealth and are different from the main island. Like the small islands in NTB which are inhabited by people from various tribes. Small islands become a gathering of fishing communities from various regions. The meeting resulted in a new culture. Likewise, the social system of people on small islands is an interesting material for socio-cultural research on small islands.

On the one hand, small islands far from the mainland face the problem of scarcity of supporting resources. For example clean water. Most of the small inhabited islands in NTB have limited sources of clean water. 

This condition is increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Erratic dry and rainy seasons and rising sea levels make people on small islands have to struggle harder. Likewise with the wealth of biology. Damage to coral reefs, and scarcity of various species of birds, turtles, and fish are also challenges for the development of small islands.

Muhammad Aimar Fikcry, a representative of Generation Z at the University of Mataram, said that he received information that there were still bombings on small islands. Bombardment to get fish not only kills fish fry, bombing damages coral reefs.

Aimar has also visited Maringkik Island, a small island in East Lombok Regency. They have a distinctive weaving that is different from Lombok weaving. Likewise in terms of language and various daily traditions. The cultural wealth on Maringik Island is proof of the cultural wealth on small islands that must be preserved.

Meanwhile, Fathul Jawad from Primali Berdaya said that young people of Generation Z need to take part in efforts to preserve small islands. Small steps that can be taken is campaigning for ecotourism. Actively promote sustainable tourism. Young people can also take part directly in activities such as cleaning up, planting mangroves, and voicing the preservation of flora and fauna on small islands.

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