Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Health is using cross-sectoral work to handle anthrax disease cases found in Gunungkidul District, Yogyakarta, according to the ministry's Director General of Disease Handling and Control Maxi Rein Rondonuwu.

Rondonuwu stated here on Wednesday that three people had died of anthrax in Gunungkidul.

The ministry, along with the local Health Office and Animal Husbandry Office, have been strengthening surveillance to detect residents infected with anthrax, so that they can be treated and hospitalized.

Meanwhile, farm animals suspected of being the cause of anthrax transmissions are handled by the Ministry of Agriculture and the local Animal Husbandry Office.

According to Rondonuwu, 93 residents in the two sub-districts of Semanu and Karangmojo in Gunungkidul, have, so far, been categorized as suspected cases of anthrax.

The Health Ministry has tested the patients' specimens through a serological test to be examined by using a genome sequencing method.

"The specimens are still examined. Based on the symptoms, it can be seen (they are) positive for anthrax. However, we are still waiting for laboratory results," he remarked.

Related news: Three Gunung Kidul residents die of anthrax infection: ministry

The ministry's Head of Communication and Public Service Bureau, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, noted that anthrax cases were suspected to have been caused by the consumption of beef contaminated with the bacterium that causes anthrax.

Cattle can be infected with anthrax if they eat grass that contains the bacterium that causes it, she noted.

Tarmizi stated that Gunungkidul is classified as an anthrax-endemic region. To this end, the relevant authority needs to further check the potential for farm animals in the region to contract anthrax.

"Do not buy cheap cattle, especially after Eid al-Adha. The Animal Husbandry Office needs to check all," she emphasized.

A preventive measure that the ministry believes could prevent the transmission is to avoid using grass from anthrax-endemic areas to feed animals.

"If there are cattle and goats that suddenly get sick and specifically have anthrax, then they should be buried immediately. Do not sell the meat," she stated.

Moreover, Tarmizi emphasized the need to process meat in accordance with the health guidelines and to cook it thoroughly.

Related news: Avoid direct contact with anthracis spores: veterinarian

Translator: Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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