Asian Reporter web extra, August 24, 2021
Livestock medicine doesn’t work against COVID, doctors warn
By Leah Willingham
The Associated Press
August 24, 2021
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Health Department is
warning people not to use livestock medicine to try to treat
COVID-19, after poison-control centers received calls about some
ingesting it and becoming ill, including two people who were
Meanwhile, as Mississippi continues seeing a sharp increase
in coronavirus cases, state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs is
reminding residents of an order he issued last year under which
residents who contract the virus can be fined or jailed if they
His tweet about the order on Friday received both support and
Mississippi’s Department of Health reported Monday that 7,249
new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the state over the
weekend. Department officials also announced that 56 more people
had died of the coronavirus, bringing the death toll since the
start of the pandemic to 8,047.
At least 70% of recent calls to the Mississippi Poison
Control Center have been related to ingestion of livestock or
animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply
centers, Mississippi Department of Health officials said last
week. They did not say exactly how many calls were received.
Some symptoms associated with ivermectin toxicity are rash,
nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, neurological disorders, and
potentially severe hepatitis requiring hospitalization.
Most callers — 85% — have had mild symptoms, health
department officials said. One person was advised to see a
physician because of the high dosage they said they took.
"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," state
epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers wrote in a memo. "Animal drugs are
highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved ivermectin
in both people and animals for some parasitic worms and for head
lice and skin conditions. It has not approved its use in
treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans.
For those who contract the virus, failure to quarantine, if
ordered to do so by a health officer, is punishable by a fine of
$500 to $5,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both,
under Dobbs’ order.
Responding to questions Monday from The Associated Press,
Health Department communications director Liz Sharlot said the
COVID-19 isolation order, which applies to schools as well as
individuals, has never been enforced. "This is an option if
necessary," Sharlot said. She said enforcement is up to local
law enforcement officers.
More than 20,000 students were quarantined for exposure to
COVID-19 the week of August 9-13, according to the most recent
data released by the department of health. On Monday, the
Greenville Public School District in the Mississippi Delta
announced it was quarantining its entire high school because of
confirmed cases among students.
Leah Willingham is a corps member for The Associated
Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for
America is a nonprofit national service program that places
journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.