Anthrax Spreads to West Sulawesi, Residents to Report if Find Symptoms
Saturday, 19 March 2016
Mandar – Anthrax first killed tens of cattle and water buffaloes in Pinrang, South Sulawesi. Now it has spread to Polewali Mandar, West Sulawesi. This disease is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis which emerged since February this year.
To prevent the disease from spreading to other animals, the local government has isolated the affected site so no animal would be transported out or in of the area before an anthrax free letter is published by the government.
On Friday (18/3/2016), two goats owned by residents in Gattungan Hamlet, Gattungan Vilage, Campalagian Subdistrict, was found dead. Two days earlier, two cows were also found dead due to anthrax.
Initially, Hemorrhagic Septicemia was suspected to be the cause of death of the cows. However, testing of meat, blood, and feces samples at Maros Disease Investigation Center laboratory in South Sulawesi found the animals were positive for anthrax.
A goat owned by Hasan, a goat farmer in Gattungan Village, Campalagian Subdistrict, suddenly died in its pen. “There were two goats here that suddenly died, one was mine,” said Hasan.
To prevent the disease from spreading, dead animals were burned and buried by local residents. This method was considered most effective for breaking the transmission chain of Bacillus anthracis, which could also cause disease in humans.
Although no human case was reported in residents, the local government is taking preventive measures.
In addition to isolating the site, officers are also spraying disinfectants on a massive scale around animal pens owned by residents.
Healthy animals located outside the affected site were immediately vaccinated. Meanwhile animals within the site were given medication.
Symptoms of anthrax infection is livestock are similar. Animals start looking healthy. Once the disease sets in, animals suddenly are stressed, nauseous and suffer high fever. Apparently healthy animals could suddenly die.
Kaharuddin, Head of the Livestock Division in Polewali Mandar Agricultural and Livestock Services, said four animals owned by residents have been identified as anthrax positive.
“Officers asked the people to burn dead animals, and bury them in a hole to prevent the disease from spreading,” said Kaharuddin.
The government is urging people who found animals or people with symptoms of anthrax to immediately communicate with local health officers. Citizens can also report their cases to the local government so early response actions can be taken. (Junaedi, Polewali | Ed: Amir Sodikin)