People possibly exposed to tuberculosis at Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore

A building at the Johns Hopkins Hospital complex has been evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a possible tuberculosis exposure, Baltimore City fire officials told 11 News.

Thursday's incident happened while the frozen sample was being transported in an internal bridge between Cancer Research Building 1 and 2, according to a statement from Johns Hopkins.

This is an ongoing investigation.

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However, Willis said staff will be retrained and policies reviewed because of the incident.

A statement from the hospital said the bacteria, used primarily for medical research, may have been inadvertently released while in transit. Further, Hopkins added, "We have confirmed that there was no risk to anyone on campus".

Tuberculosis is a highly contagious bacteria that can be spread through the air.

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"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. The Baltimore City Fire Department is now on-scene at 1500 block of Jefferson Street. Because of its knack for picking on the immunocompromised, TB is much more risky and occasionally fatal for people who also have HIV.

Tuberculosis is a potentially serious infectious but treatable bacterial disease. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain.

The Baltimore Fire Department said they received a call shortly after noon to say that a tuberculosis sample had been spilled. If the person is not treated properly then the disease can be fatal. That same year, 9.272 cases were reported in the United States, and provisional data from 2017 found 9,093 cases. Tuberculosis is treatable but there are strains of the disease that have become resistant to antibiotics, which makes treatment long and expensive.

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