Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore evacuated due to possible TB exposure

Credit David Collins  WBAL-TV 11

An investigation is underway after people may have been exposed to Tuberculosis at Johns Hopkins, according to the hospital.

A small amount of the tuberculosis bacteria may have been released while being transported between two of the hospital's cancer research buildings, the spokeswoman, Kim Hoppe, said in an email. The sample was "equivalent to a few drops", according to Dr. Landon King, executive vice dean of the school.

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. "We want to thank our employees for their quick response to the situation as well as the Baltimore City Fire Department". Some employees said they were told not to walk down a certain hallway.

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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. "So far, all indications are that no other individuals have been exposed, however the buildings will remain evacuated until cleared by public safety officials".

A Johns Hopkins spokesman said the building has been cleared of any contamination and they have confirmed that they was no risk to anyone inside the building. It's possible to be infected with TB without getting ill, in which case it can still be spread. Symptoms of TB infection include fever and bloody coughing, and treatment can take six months or even longer. Because of its knack for picking on the immunocompromised, TB is much more risky and occasionally fatal for people who also have HIV.

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