Washington County’s polling officer promotes ivermectin on personal Facebook
The Washington County polling officer posted on Facebook last month sharing her experience with ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug that some people are using to treat COVID-19 despite federal warnings.
Online misinformation, mainly on social media, touts the antiparasitic drug as an alternative treatment for COVID-19. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that the drug has not been adequately tested to treat the virus. And some take a more accessible version of animal starch ivermectin, which is intended for deworming horses, cows, and other farm animals, resulting in hospitalization.
Washington County Election Supervisor Carol Finch Rudd and her husband started taking ivermectin sometime after she became ill. She heard about the drug from friends and family who had used it before she started and continued to use it.
Rudd has seen warnings from the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before taking ivermectin to treat COVID-19, but she is not deterred.
“We just know firsthand what it’s done for us, so in my opinion we just had to be proactive and take matters into our own hands,” she told Florida Politics. “We saw how many people got so sick, dangerously sick, and friends and family died. We just had the feeling that we had to do some things differently than what was offered to us by our medical department. “
Buying human-grade ivermectin requires a doctor’s prescription. However, animal grade liquid and paste ivermectin are available online and in feed stores. Ivermectin paste contains a higher concentration of the drug.
Rudd bought ivermectin on Amazon but declined to say whether she was buying a formulation for humans or animals. Amazon Pharmacy sells the human version – with a prescription – but the version marketed for horses is also available on Amazon.
She started taking ivermectin after her daughter, a nurse, and son-in-law used it during their own battles with COVID-19. She claimed symptoms, such as her daughter’s loss of smell, subsided within 24 hours.
While Rudd’s husband tested positive for COVID-19, she tested negative. However, she suspects she got infected because she had symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
While vaccination can cause people to test positive for antibodies, Rudd declined to reply about whether she had received the vaccination.
Rudd said she was still taking ivermectin and planning to end a 30-day treatment period. She is still feeling ongoing health effects from her suspected infection.
The polling officer said she and her husband also gave ivermectin to a longtime friend after refusing to go to the hospital for treatment monoclonal antibodies, an FDA-cleared COVID-19 treatment.
They provided the friend with CDC-approved over-the-counter vitamins, but when he refused to seek treatment for his worsening symptoms, they gave him ivermectin. Rudd said the friend had since recovered.
In a post that has since been removed, Rudd shared her experience with ivermectin on her personal Facebook page; She says to tell her story, not to promote the drug. Included in their post was a table of ivermectin dosage from the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, a minority group of doctors and scholars recommending the human-approved version of the drug for the treatment of COVID-19.
Facebook removed her post and warned her of violating the website’s standards. In subsequent posts, which she has now made privately, she criticized Facebook for having censored them. She told Florida Politics that she made the critical posts after friends asked where the dosage table was.
“My post was removed when I shared information about drugs that are currently being prescribed! Serious?? When you see it, share it with loved ones if you want. COVID is real and doesn’t choose. If it was my family I would be grateful that you shared it. Then we could make our own decisions, ”she wrote on August 15th.
“Makes me so angry. As we know, there are some doctors who prescribe the same thing in tablet form. But it is not generally prescribed. It is your decision to take any medication, ”she said in response to a comment on her post.
Since Florida Politics’ interview with Rudd, the following posts have been made private.
Andrea Gainey, a legislative adviser to the Republican Senate of Panama City. George Gainer and a longtime friend of Rudd’s, commented on one of Rudd’s posts that mentioned Facebook.
“Yes, they won’t let you talk about specific treatments. Regardless of how well they work or how many studies they support, ”she wrote.
Gainey told Florida Politics that she would make a general comment on how Facebook censors medical issues. Gainer’s District 2 Facebook page has been removed for months without explanation. Gainey and the Senator struggled to promote monoclonal antibodies a year ago when the treatment was not so well known.
On Sunday, Rudd replied to a post from another Facebook user.
“I actually took it yesterday to see if it helped with persistent symptoms. I actually think there are improvements, ”she wrote.
“I hesitated, but will take it again now. So many could have benefited in the last year (if) this had been handled correctly, ”she said in a separate comment.
The CDC and FDA medical advice is based on the best information available at the time, Rudd told Florida Politics.
“As we know, this is changing all the time, so I think it’s beneficial for all of us to do our own research as well,” she said.
Doctors can prescribe human-grade ivermectin for uses beyond treating parasites and tropical diseases, possibly even COVID-19.
Rudd could name at least one doctor, a dermatologist, in the Washington County area who will prescribe human-grade ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. The doctor’s office did not respond to questions from Florida Politics.
While some researchers have done superficial research into the drug’s safety and effectiveness in treating COVID-19, clinical trials of the drug “provided insufficient evidence” to treat the virus.
Most often, those making the false claim that ivermectin is effective cite the pre-release paper from Antiviral Research: “The FDA-cleared drug Ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro.”
According to the FDA, this research article described the effects of ivermectin on SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting.
“This type of study is often used in the early stages of drug development. Ivermectin was not administered to humans or animals in this study, ”said the FDA. “Additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin could be safe or effective for preventing or treating coronavirus or COVID-19.”
Both the FDA and the CDC have warned against self-medication with ivermectin. Request to tweet the FDA, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, all of you. Stop it.”
Ivermectin manufacturers Merck added that there was “no scientific basis for a possible therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from preclinical studies” and “no conclusive evidence of clinical activity or effectiveness in patients with COVID-19”.
Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, the group promoting ivermectin has Declarations made against improper use of the drug.
“The FLCCC has a long-standing position that humans should never use drugs formulated for animals. In addition, you should never self-administer or use a prescription drug without the guidance of a doctor, ”the group wrote on their website last week.
Still, the group describes the FDA’s warnings and media reports about the drug as misleading. These groups try to tie the human formula to the animal formula.
However, in Mississippi and now Florida, ivermectin poisoning is on the rise. There were 72 cases of exposure in Florida poison control that year, more than half in August alone.
Florida had received poison control a week ago 27 calls for exposure to ivermectin in August. By Tuesday afternoon there were 37. Most of these cases, at least 22, were related to the veterinary medicine.
For comparison, only two ivermectin exposures were reported to Florida Poison Control in August 2020.
Twelve of this year’s exposures to ivermectin were in children, likely because more people keep the drug in their households. Six of these pediatric cases came in August.
Washington County had no exposure to ivermectin for the past month. However, there were seven cases last month in the other 10 counties in the Florida Panhandle. The panhandle only had one case before August this year.
Side effects are abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. More extreme exposure can lead to seizures. Hospitalizations and deaths are also possible, although no cases have been fatal in Florida.
DR. Dawn Sollee, the director of the Florida Poison Control Office in Jacksonville for northern Florida, says there is no good data for or against the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. But people who buy ivermectin without a prescription are knowingly buying the product that is intended for animals, she said.
“If you go to a feed store, it is for animals. They know they can get it without a prescription. It wouldn’t be there for people, ”she said.
Florida Ivermectin supply has been exhausted because people are using it as a COVID-19 treatment alternative, Commissioner of Democratic Agriculture Nikki Fried told reporters on Monday.
The 67 district leaders in the Florida election are district-wide elected for a four-year term. However, Rudd said she did not use her office to promote ivermectin, noting that she created the post from her personal page.
“I think anyone you speak to in our community who knows me very well knows that I would go the extra mile to help anyone I can,” she said.
A new post shows how she donates blood.
In 2020, Rudd, a Republican, received 80.2% of the vote, a larger share than the then president Donald Trump received in the county.