UGM experts have warned of the dangers of slaughtering the carcasses of animals that died from diseases. This mistake triggers the spread of infections caused by bacteria, including anthrax, which infects other animals and humans, leading to fatal cases.
“Infected animals should not be opened, so slaughtering them is a fatal mistake because bacteria are mostly in the blood. When the blood comes out and interacts with the air, spores are formed, becoming a nightmare,” explained veterinarian Professor Agnesia Endang Tri Hastuti Wahyuni in a press conference held at UGM on Friday (7/7).
She explained that anthrax cases have been present in Indonesia since 1884, and the affected areas have increased and expanded over time.
According to her, one of the reasons is that anthrax is a disease that is not easily eradicated. Spores produced by anthrax bacteria, Professor Wahyuni explained, are challenging to eliminate and can survive in the soil for decades.
She stated that anthrax in animals can still be treated with therapy. With prompt and proper treatment, infected animals can survive and recover from the disease.
“It can be treated because the bacteria are still susceptible to antibiotics. For prevention, vaccination needs to be repeated every six months,” Professor Wahyuni said.
Anthrax that affects humans can be divided into four types: cutaneous anthrax, gastrointestinal anthrax, respiratory anthrax, and injection anthrax.
According to UGM epidemiologist Citra Indriani, MD, cutaneous anthrax is the most commonly found in Yogyakarta, while cases of respiratory anthrax and injection anthrax have not been reported in Indonesia so far.
“Cutaneous anthrax can occur when a person slaughters an infected animal, and its blood comes into contact with the human skin through a wound. The initial symptom is itching, which quickly develops into anthrax lesions and swelling,” explained the epidemiologist.
Similar to animal cases, anthrax in humans can also be managed through early detection and appropriate treatment. However, she emphasized that prevention efforts are crucial to focus on.
“Once anthrax appears, continuous control is needed for both the environment and the animals to prevent human disease. If you experience symptoms after contact with sick animals or slaughtering them, immediately seek medical attention as doctors are prepared to detect anthrax cases in humans early,” she emphasized.
Dr. Nanung Danar Dono from the UGM Faculty of Animal Science stressed the importance of understanding, awareness, and joint efforts in handling anthrax to prevent further casualties. According to him, practices such as cutting and distributing meat from sick animals are dangerous habits that must be stopped.
“Enough is enough. Let’s prevent any more cases because almost all provinces in Indonesia have been affected now. Just like with COVID-19, let’s fight together and remind each other,” he concluded.