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Johns Hopkins Hospital buildings evacuated after 'inadvertent' tuberculosis release
09 July 2018, 07:00 | Rodolfo Wallace
Johns Hopkins Hospital Complex Evacuated — Hazmat Situation for Possible Tuberculosis
"The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes", according to the Mayo Clinic.
Frozen tuberculosis spilled Thursday within the Johns Hopkins Cancer Research Building, creating a potential hazard after a latch failed on a transport container, an official with the medical institution said Friday.
A small amount of frozen tuberculosis was spilled between two hospital buildings.
This is an ongoing investigation.
"The Baltimore City Fire and Rescue unit initiated hazmat protocols and, out of an abundance of caution, both research buildings were evacuated", she wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
The most recent data from the CDC shows that tuberculosis cases have seen a decline in recent years, with just 9,272 cases reported in the United States in 2016. Authorities said employees on the site do not need to do additional tests as authorities declared no incidence of health risks.
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Tuberculosis is the world's leading infectious killer. The sample fell somewhere on an internal bridge, which connects the Cancer Research Building 1 of the hospital to the Cancer Research Building 2.
However, Willis said staff will be retrained and policies reviewed because of the incident.
"In fact, we have determined that there is actually no risk, zero risk to anybody involved".
Hospital officials believe that although there were employees in the area at the time, no one was exposed to the bacterial disease.
Fire officials also commended Johns Hopkins for taking immediate action and shutting down the HVAC system when the incident occurred. TB primarily affects the lungs and can become airborne. Other people who might have been exposed are being sheltered in place. Sometimes the germ tends to lie dormant within the body, without causing the disease or spreading. It can be fatal if it goes untreated.
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