Poison control calls spike as people take livestock dewormer to treat COVID-19

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 9:08 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2021 at 9:26 AM CDT

JACKSON, Miss. (WMC) - The Mississippi State Department of Health sent a health alert Friday warning health care providers about a drug used to deworm livestock that some are using to treat and prevent COVID-19.

According to the alert, the Mississippi Poison Control Center has received several calls related to the ingestion of ivermectin meant for livestock, which is causing illness in COVID-19 patients.

Ivermectin is approved for use in both people and animals, but animal drugs are highly concentrated and can be highly toxic in humans.

According to the health alert:

  • No one has been hospitalized due to ingestion of the drug.
  • At least 70% of the recent calls have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers.
  • 85% of the callers had mild symptoms.

Mississippi Poison Control Center advises any physicians, providers or hospitals within the state who know patients with illness related to the medication, either prescribed or livestock formulations, to call them at 1-800-222-1222.

See the health alert message in full below:

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