Possible release of tuberculosis bacteria investigated in Baltimore

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Possible release of tuberculosis bacteria investigated in Baltimore

Both buildings were evacuated, and employees in the vicinity were isolated and were to be evaluated by the fire department, hospital spokeswoman Kim Hoppe said.

"Although we believe that this was a one-time event with no risk to anyone on campus, we take this event seriously and will conduct a thorough review of existing procedures, retrain staff and make any other needed improvements", Willis said.

The spill that caused two buildings to be evacuated Thursday afternoon is believed to be a one-time incident, spokesman Ken Willis said in a statement.

According to WBAL, the incident involved a small vial of a frozen sample of tuberculosis being dropped onto the floor and having its lid fall off.

A statement from the hospital said the bacteria, used primarily for medical research, may have been inadvertently released while in transit.

Earlier Thursday, employees at the research hospital were transferring frozen tubes of tuberculosis for research purposes on an internal bridge between two buildings, cancer research building 1 and cancer research building 2. Airborne germs spread the disease from person to person. The Baltimore City Fire Department is now on-scene at 1500 block of Jefferson Street.

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.

Not everyone infected with the bacteria will become sick, but the most extreme cases can be fatal. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain.

It affects less than 3 per 100,000 people per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treatment with antibiotics for four to nine months is required to treat the active disease.

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