Health officials in Mississippi have warned against the use of Ivermectin – a livestock anti-parasitic drug – for treating COVID-19 symptoms. The authorities issued the warning after the Mississippi Poison Control Center announced an upsurge in the “ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers.” The poison center said about 70% of alert calls in recent days related to the erroneous use of ivermectin.

FDA Warns Against Using Horse and Cow Ivermectin Drug to Treat COVID-19

Mississippi Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs warned that animal drugs are dangerous for human use, especially when the FDA has not authorized them for human use.

“I certainly would strongly recommend people not take any medicine from a feed store or a veterinary source,” Dobbs said. “It can be dangerous. You wouldn’t get your medical treatment; you wouldn’t get your chemotherapy at a feed store. I mean, you wouldn’t treat your pneumonia with your animal’s medication. It can be dangerous to get the wrong doses of medication, especially for something that’s meant for a horse or a cow.”

The FDA approved ivermectin for treating of intestinal complications caused by parasitic worms in humans, and for the skin treatment of rosacea and head lice. But it is not approved by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19 illness or symptoms in humans. An FDA advisory stated that ivermectin prepared for animals are different from the one approved for human use, and the one for animals must not be used for humans, CNN writes.

“Animal drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans,” the FDA stated. “Some of the symptoms associated with ivermectin toxicity include rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, neurologic disorders, and potentially severe hepatitis requiring hospitalization. You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

Although no deaths or hospitalizations have been linked to patients monitored for the wrongful use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, the poison control center in Mississippi said 85% of the people suffer from mild symptoms. The authorities said ingesting large doses of the animal drug can cause critical harm to humans and can be very fatal. They advised people to get vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, the state has about 37% of full vaccination – the second-lowest vaccination rate in the country. On Thursday, 5,048 new coronavirus infections were recorded, and Dobbs said the situation is getting worse in the state. He warned that infected people who failed to quarantine at home will be fined or jailed if caught by the authorities.