“You are not a horse. You are not a cow,” the Food and Drug Administration tweeted on Saturday alongside a link to a page on their website explaining “Why you should not use Ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19.”

Why? Because Ivermectin, a medication usually reserved for deworming livestock, is responsible for a spike in poison control calls in Mississippi as people duped by conspiracy theories have purchased the drug and ingested it, hoping it will treat or prevent Covid-19 — something the drug is not proven to do.

According to an alert issued by the Mississippi Department of Health on Friday, 70 percent of all recent calls to poison control in the state “have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers.” Although most callers (85 percent) only reported mild symptoms, one person was advised to seek additional treatment.

“Animal drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans,” the alert said. Ivermectin is sometimes used in humans to treat parasites or scabies, but in much smaller doses than are given to livestock.

The calls have clearly baffled health officials in the state. “I think some people are trying to use it as a preventative which is really kindof crazy,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s state health officer, said. “So please don’t do that.”

“You wouldn’t get your chemotherapy at a feed store,” Dobbs added. “You wouldn’t treat your pneumonia with your animal’s medication. It can be dangerous to get the wrong doses of medication, especially with something meant for a horse or a cow.”

But the obvious risks of humans ingesting Ivermectin haven’t stopped people at Fox News — including hosts Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson — from dangerously suggesting that it is a safe and effective treatment for Covid-19, as Rachel Maddow pointed out on her Friday night show where she showed clips of Fox personalities pushing the drug consistently over the last six months.

“Fox News is busy saying, ‘Don’t take the vaccine, but do take this horse deworming medication, trust us, it is proven,’ ” Maddow said.

Except, Ivermectin’s efficacy in treating or preventing Covid is everything but proven. Both the FDA and World Health Organization have warned against it. Mississippi especially cannot afford an influx of patients who took Ivermectin, as the state is experiencing a Covid-19 surge that has already overwhelmed many hospitals.

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