Poison Control Reports Spike In Calls After Anti-Vaxxers Take Livestock Dewormer

by : Hannah Smith on : 21 Aug 2021 12:49
Poison Control Reports Spike In Calls After Anti-Vaxxers Take Livestock DewormerPA Images

Healthcare authorities in Mississippi have warned local hospitals over a spike in reports of poisonings, after some anti-vaxxers have turned to medications intended for livestock as an alternative treatment for COVID-19.

The Mississippi State Department of Health sent an alert yesterday, August 20, warning that the state’s Poison Control Centre had received ‘several calls’ reporting the ingestion of ivermectin – a drug used to deworm animals – with some callers having fallen ill after taking the drug.

Santa Cruz: Ivermectin capsules and Ivermectin drops are available on the counter in a pharmacy (PA)PA Images

Also known as ‘horse paste’, ivermectin is typically used to treat horses and other livestock, but can sometimes be prescribed in a lower concentration to treat parasitic infections in humans.

Following reports that the drug had previously been assessed for its potential use as a treatment for COVID-19, it appears that anti-vaxxers have been buying the medication for themselves in an attempt to treat or prevent the virus.

It’s worth stressing that there’s absolutely no conclusive evidence to recommend use of ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, but even if there was, buying quantities intended for animals is definitely not a good idea.


Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many anti-vaxxers in Mississippi and elsewhere appear to be doing. According to local news station WAFB, at least 70% of calls received by the state’s Poison Control Centre are from people who have ingested ‘livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers.’

While no hospitalisations as a result of poisonings from ivermectin have been reported in Mississippi, around 85% of those who reported taking the drug said they were experience mild symptoms, leading officials to warn healthcare providers to be prepared for possible poisonings among patients in the coming days and weeks.

The health alert issued in the state of Mississippi lists possible symptoms of ivermectin overdoses including rash, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, neurological issues, and severe hepatitis (liver inflammation.)


If you’ve been affected by coronavirus and want up to date advice, visit the Gov.uk help page here. If you need medical help call NHS 111 or visit online.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: News, COVID-19, Health, mississippi, Now, Poisoning


  1. WAFB

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