Mississippi health dept warns against taking ‘toxic’ livestock ivermectin after state’s poison control center bombarded with calls

Mississippi health dept warns against taking ‘toxic’ livestock ivermectin after state’s poison control center bombarded with calls

Mississippi residents are falling ill after turning to ivermectin-based animal medication, apparently in an attempt to self-medicate against Covid-19 – prompting authorities to warn against the potentially toxic treatment regime.

In a bulletin to healthcare providers dated August 20, the state’s health department revealed that at least 70% of recent calls to the Mississippi Poison Control Center had involved ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers. 

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Around 85% of the callers exhibited mild symptoms of poisoning, but one individual was instructed to undergo medical screening due to the amount of ivermectin reportedly ingested. 

The memo urged physicians in the state to explain to their patients that they should not take any medications intended to treat animals and should only use ivermectin if they are prescribed the drug by a doctor. 

“Animal drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans,” the Mississippi health department warned, adding that symptoms associated with ivermectin toxicity include rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, neurologic disorders, and potentially severe hepatitis requiring hospitalization. 

No hospitalizations linked to ivermectin toxicity had been reported to the Mississippi Poison Control Center or the Mississippi State Department of Health, the message said. The Mississippi Free Press later reported at least one hospitalization due to ivermectin toxicity. Authorities confirmed the case but said it wasn’t clear if the patient was a resident of Mississippi.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasite medication dating back to the early 1980s. The drug has been hailed by some as a low-cost antidote to coronavirus, but its effectiveness against the disease has been a hotly debated topic since the start of the pandemic. According to US health authorities, there is currently insufficient evidence to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19.

Media reports detailing the surge in poison control calls caused ‘ivermectin’ to trend on Twitter, with social media users mocking Mississippians’ interpretation of “herd immunity.”

In the past few weeks, the state has seen a spike in Covid-19-linked hospitalizations and deaths – a phenomenon blamed by some authorities on Mississippi’s low vaccination rate. 

Since the start of the pandemic, slightly more than half of the state’s Covid-associated hospitalizations have been among people ages 65 and older, with the same age group accounting for the vast majority of deaths from the disease.

The state is known for lagging behind much of the rest of the United States when it comes to public health. The average life expectancy in Mississippi is 74.6 years, making it one of the worst places to live in the country in terms of human longevity.

While coronavirus continues to haunt the state, Mississippi has also seen an explosive increase in drug overdose deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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