Two buildings at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, were evacuated on Thursday because people may have been exposed to tuberculosis, a hospital spokeswoman said. There were no patients in the facility at the time of the sample exposure, but the situation was still very serious.
"There was a small tube that contained a frozen sample, and it was dropped and the lid came off while the sample was still frozen inside", Dr. Landon King, executive vice dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, told the outlet.
A cancer research building at 1500 Orleans St. was evacuated, according to Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark. The source of the possible contamination was said to be a vial of frozen tuberculosis.
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Tuberculosis bacteria are spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or spits, and someone else can breathe in the bacteria and become sick. The evacuation was lifted shortly thereafter.
Tuberculosis, usually caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is one of the deadliest infectious diseases worldwide, infecting 10 million and killing at least 1.7 million people in 2016 alone, according to the American Centers for Disease Control. The rates are much lower in the United states, with just over 9,000 cases in the same year. This occurred on a bridge between two research buildings that do not connect to the hospital. "So far, all indications are that no other individuals have been exposed, however, the buildings will remain evacuated until cleared by public safety officials", the statement read. We have confirmed that there was no risk to anyone on campus.
Baltimore City health officials have arrived at the location.
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