Johns Hopkins: Tuberculosis Exposure Reported At Baltimore Hospital, Hazmat Crews On Scene

Vials of the dangerous tuberculosis bacteria broke at Johns Hopkins Hospital Thursday, causing a stir of activity around the complex as hazmat personnel tried to contain any contamination of the bacteria that is known to cause life-threatening illness.

Crowds of medical staff streamed out of the hospital on Thursday afternoon after the Baltimore medical facility ordered an evacuation of two buildings after possible tuberculosis exposure.

Aerial shots of the scene from the local television station WBAL-TV show two fire trucks parked outside the complex as onlookers stand nearby.

The Baltimore City Fire Department is currently investigating the release of tuberculosis, which was being transported in an internal bridge connecting two cancer research buildings, according to a statement from Kim Hoppe, a spokesperson for the hospital.

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"Employees were in the area when the incident occurred, and these employees have been isolated and are expected to be evacuated by the fire department," Hoppe said in a statement to Newsweek. "So far, all indications are that no other individuals have been exposed, however the buildings will remain evacuated until cleared by public safety officials."

According to eyewitness reports from WBAL-TV, a fire alarm went off during a frenzy of people leaving the buildings. Some employees said they were told not to walk down a certain hallway. Other people who might have been exposed are being sheltered in place.

Tuberculosis is a highly contagious bacteria that can be spread through the air. 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.

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.

Not everyone infected with the bacteria will become sick, but the most extreme cases can be fatal.