Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Health Ministry had declared an anthrax outbreak status in Gunung Kidul District, Yogyakarta Province, made effective from Dec 28, 2019 to Jan 6, 2020, the ministry's top official stated here, Friday.

The status came into effect from the day the first anthrax case came to light in Ponjong Sub-district's area and then spread to Semanu Sub-district, Director General for Infectious Disease Control and Prevention at the Health Ministry Anung Sugihantoro stated.

However, he notified journalists in Gunung Kidul District on Friday that the local authorities were adept at managing the condition.

The status of the anthrax outbreak was made affective from the day the first case was reported on Dec 28, 2019, until Jan 6, 2020, since on the day, no more cases were detected, Sugihantoro explained.

The Indonesian Health Ministry applies its own gradation-related procedures to handle disease breakouts. If the number of cases increased from that in the past, it could be categorized as a "breakout".

In dealing with anthrax cases, three areas necessitated serious attention: the health of the people, animals, and environment since the anthracis spores may withstand any weather conditions, he remarked.

The anthracis spores might have spread to several areas though this assumption should be further examined thoroughly, he noted, adding that the anthrax disease was not transmitted from human to human but from infected animals to humans.

In the meantime, the Health Ministry's Director for Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Siti Nadia Tarmizi opined that Gunung Kidul District often experienced anthrax cases since the anthrax epidemic had struck in the past.

"The anthracis spores are able to stay alive for years in contaminated soil and water," she noted.

Owing to the anthracis spores remaining latent, they can resurface in areas declared as anthrax outbreak regions decades ago when the contaminated soil of the burial site of dead animals is cultivated, she pointed out.

The anthracis spores could affix themselves to leaves and grass that were consumed by livestock. As a result, the cattle would contract anthrax disease, she stated.

According to Siti Nadia Tarmizi, three cows and six goats had reportedly died owing to anthrax in Gunung Kidul District while, as of Dec 31, 2019, 27 local residents had contracted the disease, one of whom died of meningitis. Related news: Gunung Kidul ever ravaged by anthrax epidemic: Indonesian official
Related news: Health ministry sends team to handle anthrax case


Translator: Sutarmi, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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