Tuberculosis spill prompts mass evacuation at Johns Hopkins

Baltimore: hospital evacuated due to tuberculosis threat – reports

Baltimore: hospital evacuated due to tuberculosis threat – reports

One of the world's deadliest diseases - tuberculosis - made a rare stateside appearance Thursday. Officials did not say how it might have been released.

"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", said Dr. Landon King, executive vice dean at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

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.

The Baltimore City Fire and Rescue unit initiated hazmat protocols and, out of an abundance of caution, both research buildings were evacuated.

Hospital employees told 11 News that a fire alarm was pulled and they were subsequently told to evacuate 1501 Jefferson St.

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.

The two buildings remained off limits for several hours, and were reopened after public safety officials and infectious disease experts gave the all-clear, according to the report. As CDC notes, over 10 million people were diagnosed with TB in 2016, and 1.7 million of those patients lost their lives as a result. In the United States, however, it's steadily become a rarity.

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 TB sample was being used for research. Treatment with antibiotics for four to nine months is required to treat the active disease.