Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Possible Tuberculosis exposure causes Hazmat situation at Johns Hopkins

Possible Tuberculosis exposure causes Hazmat situation at Johns Hopkins

Tuberculosis is an incredibly infectious and deadly disease.

"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. "As a cautionary measure, both Cancer Research Buildings have been evacuated".

Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark said people were allowed back into the research buildings by late afternoon.

There were employees in the area when the incident occurred, but hospital officials told the Baltimore Sun that no one required treatment. "So far, all indications are that no other individuals have been exposed, however the buildings will remain evacuated until cleared by public safety officials", she added.

But authorities later confirmed "that there was no risk to anyone on campus", Hoppe said. In the United States, however, it's steadily become a rarity.

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The building's air circulation systems were shut down shortly after the sample exposure to prevent the airborne disease from spreading, effectively isolating it.

Not everyone infected with the bacteria will become sick, but the most extreme cases can be fatal. It can cause a hacking cough that lasts for weeks, chest pain, and a tell-tale coughing up of blood familiar to anyone who's watched Moulin Rouge.

TB can be treated through a months-long course of antibiotics, but its hardiness and poor antibiotic management on the part of doctors and patients had enabled incredibly resistant strains to start cropping up.

The TB sample was being used for research. And some strains, doctors have speculated, are even totally untreatable.

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