Ivermectin Influencer Dies As His Followers Carry Out His Misinformation
Popular among his anti-vaxxer group, pro-ivermectin social media influencer Danny Lemoi died in early March after advocating for the anti-parasite drug used for animals.
Lemoi was the advocate for ivermectin through the years including advocating for the anti-parasite drug on the Telegram chat group, Dirt Road Discussions. The Telegram chat is an anti-vaxxer group that refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 pushing for misinformation.
Before 7:00 AM ET on March 3, Lemoi had written on the Telegram group: “HAPPY FRIDAY ALL YOU POISONOUS HORSE PAST EATING SURVIVORS!!!”
He perished unexpectedly hours later.
In the wake of Lemoi’s death after the announcement on Dirt Road Discussions on March 5, his followers pushed to spread the word about the use of ivermectin amongst the anti-vaxxers.
“Please help us keep Danny’s light and legacy alive by continuing to spread the word about the wonders of ivermectin and his incredible story of perseverance, survival, selflessness, and mostly love,” said an administrator for Dirt Road Discussion written in the Telegram group.
Lemoi, who was 50 at the time of his death, was a Heavy Equipment Operator from Rhode Island. No cause of death was stated in the obituary.
Despite his death, the Telegram group continues to push for misinformation on ivermectin while others had started to worry about the side effects of the drug.
The late Rhode Island resident had started to take ivermectin in 2012 after he was tested positive for Lyme disease. Lemoi took it on a regular basis up until his death. He claimed that the drug regenerated his heart muscle that led him to quit other treatments.
Ivermectin has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19 that includes both human version and the anti-parasite drug for animals.
Some users in the Telegram chat had started to worry about the possible side effects of taking ivermectin and the use of taking it. Others had been pushing for misinformation that included a parasite cleanse to kill parasites including drinking lemon water and taking ivermectin.
“When used as directed, ivermectin is typical well tolerated, although some people may experience headache, nausea, skin rashes or body swelling after using ivermectin,” said Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicology physician and media director at the National Capital Poison Center. “People who use ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 are likely to experience unwanted side effects from use of the medication.”
Administrators on the Telegram channel further added that Lemoi had undergone testing for his heart last year.
Veterinary ivermectin was the most preferred by the anti-vaxxers rather the than the one that was used for humans. Ivermectin tablets for humans are approved for specific doses to treat some parasitic worms, and topical formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea, according to the American Medical Association.
“While in some countries, ivermectin is approved for human use, this is rarely used,” said Dr. Paola Cuevas, a veterinary consultant at Hepper. “It’s of great concern to see people recurrently ingesting extremely high doses of ivermectin from the so-called ‘protocols’”.
Lemoi’s Telegram chat stated that he had lab tests in the past year “because they raise no red flags, no further test was believed to be necessary,” according to The Mirror.
The chat also stated that Lemoi had distrust in doctors and a long history of medical trauma. Lemoi’s followers had included misinformation of Lyme disease as the leading the cause of suicide, according to a meme in the chat.
“Ivermectin can have some adverse events,” said Dr. Alpana Mohta, a board-certified dermatologist. “I have only had one patient who developed a severe drug reaction (toxic epidermal necrolysis) following the use of ivermectin. Although, I have encountered a few cases of drug rash, including maculopapular rash and pityriasis rosea following the use of the drug for parasitic infections.”
Mohta didn’t recommend using ivermectin to treat COVID-19. “While ivermectin is approved by the FDA for the treatment of certain parasitic infections in humans and animals, there is currently no evidence to support its use as a treatment for COVID-19.”
Some members of Telegram chat group had experienced the side effects of ivermectin, according to Vice News.
One member wrote: “My wife has been taking ivermectin for 3 months. She is being treated for autoimmune hepatitis, thyroid, and vertebrae issues. She has had some serious HERXING. Today she has migraine, vomiting and severe stomach pain. Does anyone have any ideas how to help, and are these the HERXING symptoms?”
Many of Lemoi’s followers put their distrust in the CDC, big pharma, and doctors as their discussion of topic. The Dirt Road Discussions has been the home to many anti-vaxxers to spread misinformation about ivermectin and distrusting other medical professionals.
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