Mississippi officials warn against using ivermectin for COVID-19 amid spike in poisonings

Mississippi health officials are warning residents against using ivermectin, a horse dewormer medication, to treat COVID-19 infections at home amid a spike in poisoning calls to the Mississippi Poison Control Center.

The Mississippi Department of Health sent a letter out to to the MS Health Alert Network on Friday warning health professionals of the spike in poisonings from individuals digesting ivermectin. 

“At least 70% of the recent calls have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers,” the letter stated.

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Only one person was told to seek further help due to the amount of the ivermectin ingested and 85 percent of callers had mild symptoms.

Some of the symptoms individuals can experience are rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, neurologic disorders, and sometimes severe hepatitis.

There have been no hospitalizations reported to the department yet from someone ingesting ivermectin to cure the coronavirus.

“Animal drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans,” the letter signed by state epidemiologist Paul Byers stated. “Patients should be advised to not take any medications intended to treat animals and should be instructed to only take ivermectin as prescribed by their physician.”

The increase in ivermectin use comes as Mississippi is struggling to deal with an increase in coronavirus cases as the state has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the U.S.