Jakarta (ANTARA) - Anthrax disease, which resulted in three deaths in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, is proof of the correlation between human health and animal health, according to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

"This is an example of how the health of humans and animals is interconnected," he said after attending the Plenary Meeting on the Health Bill at the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR RI) office in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Sadikin said that zoonoses can be overcome through health interventions in animals and humans. In connection with this, his side is intensifying coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture to address the risk of disease in livestock, especially herbivores.

He noted that herbivores are prone to being carriers of the Bacillus anthracis bacteria that cause anthrax in humans because they consume grass and plants that contain anthrax spores.

One preventive effort that can be taken is to administer vaccines to livestock through the role of the Agriculture Ministry as the authorized authority to handle diseases in animals.

Sadikin said that his side has been coordinating with the Agriculture Ministry because the handling of animals is beyond the Health Ministry's scope of duties.

"These animals pose risks similar to infectious diseases and therefore must be vaccinated," Sadikin explained.

He said that the Health Ministry has scheduled a meeting with representatives of the Agriculture Ministry regarding a plan to vaccinate livestock in anthrax-endemic areas.

Sadikin stated that the next step to anticipate the dangers of anthrax is to avoid consuming livestock meat that is indicated to be infected with anthrax bacteria.

"The dead animal must be examined to determine whether it has anthrax bacteria or not. Dead animals found with anthrax bacteria must be burned and cannot be consumed," he emphasized.

The ministry's intervention is now focused on patients currently exposed to anthrax by administering certain antibiotics to kill the bacteria, he remarked.

The Ministry of Agriculture reported that as many as 143,795 cattle, 202,555 goats, and around 11,000 sheep in Gunungkidul District were included in the criteria for anthrax-prone livestock population.

The anthrax phenomenon in Gunungkidul occurred when five livestock animals were found dead from May to early June 2023.

Three residents involved in the process of butchering the livestock or consuming meat containing anthrax bacteria were reported to have died.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Anton Santoso
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