As COVID-19 rises in Mississippi, some people ingest an unproven dewormer for livestock – .

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As COVID-19 rises in Mississippi, some people ingest an unproven dewormer for livestock – .


Between March and this month, Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham promoted the use of ivermectin as an alternative COVID treatment to millions of viewers during their prime-time shows. listen.

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Mississippi’s top doctor’s appeal to a state with the nation’s second-lowest vaccination rate seemed simple: Don’t take ivermectin, a drug used to treat worms in cattle, to prevent or treat the disease. coronavirus.

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Despite no scientific evidence that ivermectin is effective in preventing or treating COVID-19, state health worker Thomas Dobbs was baffled this week after someone was hospitalized for ingesting the dewormer drug for horses to treat the virus – a “kinda crazy” act that he likened to chemotherapy at a feed store.

“Please don’t do this,” he said.

Cases of people using ivermectin to treat COVID-19 in Mississippi are ringing alarm bells, with the state health department issuing an alert on Friday warning not to take the drug, saying the poison control center state has “received an increasing number of calls from individuals potentially infected with ivermectin.” exposure taken to treat or prevent infection with COVID-19. Mississippi state epidemiologist Paul Byers wrote in a letter to the MS Health Alert Network that “at least 70% of recent calls” were related to the ingestion of ivermectin “purchased from health centers. ‘livestock supply’.

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“Do NOT take medicine designed for animals in any form,” the health department wrote on Facebook.

The spike in ivermectin use in Mississippi comes at a time when the state is suffering from what Dobbs has described as “the worst part of the pandemic.” Mississippi reported more than 5,000 new cases of COVID on Friday, bringing its seven-day average for new infections to 3,586, according to data compiled by the Washington Post. More than 1,600 people are hospitalized for the virus and around 450 beds in intensive care units are filled on Saturday.

Dobbs, who has repeatedly stressed that vaccination remains “our best way out of this pandemic,” issued an order on Friday threatening infected Mississippi residents with fines or jail time if they fail to do so. not isolate at home.

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The increase in cases has also affected children in the state, as more than 20,000 students, representing 4.5% of the public school population, have been quarantined for exposure to the coronavirus. Byers pointed out that Mississippi minors aged 5 to 17 see the number of coronavirus cases increasing the fastest, with the highly transmissible delta variant hospitalizing young people at a high rate.

“We’re in as bad a situation as it gets,” Byers said in a live meeting with the Mississippi State Medical Association.

Commonly used to treat parasites in animals, ivermectin has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat several forms of parasitic worms found in humans. But the FDA and health officials have warned for months against using the drug to treat COVID, saying its use can “cause serious harm.”

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“There are approved uses for ivermectin in humans and animals,” Byers wrote in the letter. “Patients should be advised not to take any medicine intended to treat animals and should be instructed to only take ivermectin as prescribed by their doctor. “

The total number of ivermectin-related cases was not specified in Friday’s letter. Byers noted that 85% of those who called the Mississippi Poison Control Center said they experienced mild symptoms. Some of the symptoms of ivermectin use in people include rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, neurological problems, and potentially serious hepatitis requiring hospitalization.

We’re in as bad a situation as it gets

“Animal drugs are very concentrated for large animals and can be very toxic to humans,” Byers said.

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Dobbs and Byers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

More than 36% of the state is fully vaccinated, above just Alabama for the lowest vaccination rate in the country. Dobbs acknowledged this week that the severity of the state’s health crisis was due to a “tsunami” of cases among the unvaccinated population that overwhelmed hospitals. Almost 90% of COVID-related hospitalizations and 86% of deaths in the state are unvaccinated people, Dobbs said.

Much of the discussion around ivermectin stems from anecdotal evidence online from those who widely oppose vaccination and masking. On social media, some falsely claimed that ivermectin was a cure and that they were “mostly symptom-free” after taking the medicine. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, previously told the Washington Post that ivermectin was “the new hydroxychloroquine,” referring to the malaria drug pushed by former President Donald Trump which has been shown to be ineffective against COVID.

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The drug, which had been used in some Latin American countries as a COVID treatment, took off earlier this year; the FDA said at least three people were hospitalized in February after taking the veterinary formulation. In places like Nevada, customers have flocked to grocery stores looking for the dewormer drug to help fight COVID. Makenna LaFond, who works at Sierra Feed and Saddlery in Reno, reminded The Post earlier this year how she should tell people seeking ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID: “No, that’s not for you. That’s for a 1,100 pound horse.

“Then they would buy, like, six hits,” she said.

No, it’s not for you. This is for a 1,100 pound horse

The FDA, the National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization have warned people against using the drug for COVID treatment, and a March study published in the medical journal JAMA found that ivermectin n ‘speed healing in people with mild cases of the disease. Pharmaceutical giant Merck, an ivermectin maker, also said it did not support the drug’s safety and efficacy for COVID treatment.

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But the drug has found a national audience in conservative circles. Between March and this month, Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham promoted the use of ivermectin as an alternative COVID treatment to millions of viewers during their prime-time shows. listen. Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Was suspended from YouTube in June for posting a video touting ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as treatments.

Recently, reports of ivermectin use in unvaccinated people have emerged outside of Mississippi. The family of Phil Valentine, a conservative radio host from Tennessee who was not vaccinated and used ivermectin, are now “delighted” to hear that his listeners are being vaccinated after being infected with the virus. In Chalmette, Louisiana, Darleen Asevedo, 62, died of complications from COVID on August 14. Her daughter, Kortney, told WAFB her mother was not vaccinated and was taking ivermectin.

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“Each person gave me different information about what they should have done, what they should have taken,” the girl said in tears. “Everyone is wrong.

Doctors in southern states are still urging patients to get vaccinated and not to take an unproven form of COVID treatment that health officials say does not work. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, told the TV station that although she has used ivermectin to help treat parasitic worms in humans, science shows that Americans are looking for a treatment for coronaviruses that does not need the vaccine to come to terms with the ineffectiveness of the deworming drug.

“We have to let it go,” O’Neal said. “We tried a lot of things during this pandemic, some worked, some didn’t. Ivermectin does not work.

Laurie McGinley of the Washington Post contributed to this report

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