Recommendations to Prevent Unintended Self-Injection, Other Risks from Animal Antibiotic Micotil 300®, Issued by NIOSH
Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
May 17, 2007
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued recommendations for safe practices to protect livestock producers, veterinarians, and other workers from unintended self-injections and other hazardous occupational exposures to an animal antibiotic, tilmicosin phosphate, sold as Micotil 300®. NIOSH made the recommendations in Workplace Solutions: Preventing Worker Deaths and Injuries When Handling Micotil 300®. NIOSH noted two incidents in Nebraska in which one cattle rancher died after an unintended self-injection and another was treated in an intensive care unit.
Micotil 300® is used to treat a bovine and ovine respiratory disease known as “shipping fever.” In the U.S., veterinarians may give the antibiotic to animals or prescribe it for their clients to use on their cattle and sheep. In reported cases in which exposure occurred from unintended injections, the exposure resulted in cardiotoxic effects, ranging from rapid heart beat to reducing the heart’s ability to contract, resulting in effects serious enough to cause death. In the Nebraska cases, the ranchers unintentionally injected themselves when they were jostled while trying to administer the antibiotic to their livestock.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2002 there were over 80,000 farms in the U.S. that had cattle feed operations, with thousands of workers on these farms. These livestock producers, as well as veterinarians and other workers may be potentially exposed to the toxic hazards of Micotil 300® through needlestick injuries, skin cuts, puncture wounds, and contact with skin and other mucous membranes. Since there is currently no antidote for Micotil 300®, it is important that these exposures are limited and all potentially exposed groups understand the hazards, the proper precautionary measures, and steps to take if they are exposed, NIOSH emphasized.
“NIOSH is pleased to join with partners in the livestock industry and veterinary medicine to provide recommendations that can prevent these serious and potentially life-threatening occupational injuries,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.
Elanco, the company that develops and produces Micotil 300®, received reports of 2,392 incidences of human exposure between 1992 and 2000, and 13 confirmed Micotil 300® associated deaths since 1995. In the report, NIOSH lists recommendations for protecting veterinarians, employers, and workers while handling the drug, advocating extreme care to avoid the possibility of self-injection. The recommendations include these:
- Veterinarians should verbally review user safety warnings with each purchaser, which covers safe administration methods, appropriate first aid treatment, and emergency phone numbers.
- Veterinarians should consider prescribing animal medications that do not have toxic effects on humans.
- Employers should train workers assigned to handling Micotil 300® by using training videos, DVDs, dosage sheets, material safety data sheets, and other appropriate materials.
- Employers should ensure that proper handling procedures are available at the worksite and reviewed by all workers before they handle the drug. They should also allow only those workers trained in the hazards of Micotil 300® and safe handling procedures be allowed to handle the drug.
- Workers should adequately restrain animals during treatment to prevent unpredictable moves.
- Workers can wear proper personal protective equipment, including goggles and needle-puncture-resistant gloves, and keep a protective cover on the needles until they are ready for use.
- Workers should also never work alone, and if a worker is exposed, he or she should take proper emergency-care measures and contact the appropriate emergency contact.
For more information about other areas of NIOSH research and recommendations to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths, call toll-free 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or visit the NIOSH web page at www.cdc.gov/niosh/.