Johns Hopkins Hospital evacuates 2 research buildings due to TB scare

Credit David Collins  WBAL-TV 11

Credit David Collins WBAL-TV 11

Officials reported that the frozen sample of tuberculosis from the dropped tube did not pose a risk to the medical campus.

Kim Hoppe, a spokeswoman with Johns Hopkins Medicine, said a small sample of frozen tuberculosis was "inadvertently released" in an internal bridge between two cancer research buildings that don't connect to the hospital.

According to WBAL, she said that a small sample of frozen tuberculosis was released in an area of the hospital that does not house patients.

This is an ongoing investigation. The fire department sent a dozen vehicles and a hazmat squad to the location outside of the Johns Hopkins cancer research center.

Fire officials confirmed the hazmat situation began around 12:22 p.m. People were evacuated from both cancer research buildings as a precaution, while hazmat crews suited up to go inside and contain the contamination.

"We have determined that there is actually no risk, meaning zero risk to anyone involved", said Landon King, the executive vice dean for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a serious airborne infection.

"So far, all indications are that no other individuals have been exposed; however, the buildings will remain evacuated until cleared by public safety officials", Hoppe said. The bacteria affect the lungs, which can lead to chest pain, fatigue, fever, prolonged coughing or coughing up blood, night sweats, and loss of appetite. Because of its knack for picking on the immunocompromised, TB is much more unsafe and occasionally fatal for people who also have HIV. Sometimes the germ tends to lie dormant within the body, without causing the disease or spreading. About 1.7 million died from the disease in the same year, making it one of the top 10 most fatal, according to the World Health Organization.

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