Anthrax is a serious disease caused by by bacterial infection anthrax or Bacillus anthracis. This bacteria usually found in the ground. Although it usually infects animals, anthrax can also attack humans.
Anthrax disease attacks farm animals or wild animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, camels, horses, and pigs. Infection can occur when the animal inhales or ingests bacterial spores present in soil, plants, or water that has been contaminated with anthrax bacteria.
Anthrax is more common in developing countries and countries where there are no routine animal vaccination programs.
Anthrax in Indonesia
Anthrax is still an endemic disease in Indonesia. Cases of anthrax are still reported to appear in several areas, namely Yogyakarta, Gorontalo, West Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, Central Java, East Java, and East Nusa Tenggara. The last case occurred in 2017 in East Java and Yogyakarta.
Cases of anthrax often appear at the beginning of the year which coincides with the rainy season in Indonesia. The Ministry of Health is also still taking more stringent anticipation and monitoring measures for anthrax in the days leading up to religious celebrations, such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, where people consume a lot of animal meat on those days.
Transmission of Anthrax in Humans
A person can get anthrax in about 1 to 5 days after being exposed to anthrax bacteria. Once inside the body, the anthrax bacteria will multiply and produce toxins that can cause anthrax disease.
The process of transmission of anthrax in humans can be done in several ways, namely:
Anthrax infectionthrough an open wound in the skin
This is the most common mode of transmission of anthrax in humans. The symptoms include:
- Red bumps appear on the skin, with a black center. These lumps are itchy and sore.
- Swelling and pain in the lymph nodes around the infected skin.
- Muscle ache.
- Nauseous vomit.
Anthrax infection through the respiratory tract
This can happen when a person breathes air contaminated with anthrax bacteria, so the bacteria can enter the lungs. Signs that a person is exposed to airborne anthrax are:
- Sore throat.
- Hard to breathe.
- High fever.
- Chest discomfort.
- Muscle ache.
- Pain when swallowing.
- Coughing up blood.
Despite treatment, fatal complications due to anthrax infection in the respiratory tract sometimes still occur.
Anthrax infection through the digestive tract
Drinking water or consuming meat that has been infected with anthrax bacteria without processing it until cooked can also make a person contract this disease. Contamination in this way will attack the organs in the digestive system. Some of the symptoms of anthrax that attack the digestive tract are:
- Throw up.
- Loss of appetite.
- Diarrhea with blood.
- Sore throat.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Stomach ache.
Apart from the three methods above,The bacteria that causes anthrax can also enter the human body through needles. Transmission of anthrax disease through this method usually occurs in injecting drug users who use syringes interchangeably.
Petreatment and prevention of anthrax
Anthrax disease can be cured by giving antibiotics and anti-toxic substances to neutralize toxins from the anthrax bacteria. However, despite treatment, fatal complications due to anthrax infection sometimes still occur.
Therefore, it would be much better if this disease could be prevented. The trick is to:
- Perform anthrax vaccination in humans and livestock.
- Avoid direct contact with farm animals or wild animals that have not been vaccinated.
- Cook the meat until it is completely cooked.
If not treated immediately, anthrax can cause serious complications, such as sepsis, meningitis, and even death. Therefore, if you experience symptoms of anthrax after consuming animal meat or contact with farm animals or wild animals, immediately consult a doctor.