Authorities responded to reports that a small amount of tuberculosis bacteria may have been released at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Thursday afternoon, after a latch failed on a container, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
In a later statement, Hopkins spokeswoman Kim Hoppe said the possible release happened during transport in an internal bridge between Cancer Research Building 1 and Cancer Research Building 2.
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.
This is an ongoing investigation.
Tuberculosis, or TB, is a serious airborne bacterial infection. Soon after, a fire alarm was pulled and employees were evacuated.
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Resident Enrique Camargo said he ran toward the fire area to check its progress after the evacuation order was made. The Spring Creek Fire became the third-largest in state history at 165 square miles (427 square kilometers).
Both cancer research buildings were evacuated out of an "abundance of caution" but have now been cleared as safe.
Still, to be on a safer side, the Fire Department shut down the heating and the cooling system speculating that the tuberculosis sample might spread through it, said Dr Landon King from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Hospital officials say they believe an unspecified number of individuals were exposed to tuberculosis at the health facility at around 12:20 pm EST. In the U.S., however, it's steadily become a rarity. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but it can attack other organs, like the kidneys or the brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the year 2016, only nine thousand two hundred seventy-two cases of TB were reported, which is regarded to be the lowest count recorded till today.
Symptoms include coughing up blood, fever, chills, night sweats, shortness of breath, chest pains, weight loss and fatigue.
Luckily, it seems, that's a scenario we won't have to worry about here.