BCHD says nitrites are to blame for illnesses at Hopkins building

BALTIMORE - Officials with the Baltimore City Health Department say the investigation into recent illness reported at the Johns Hopkins administrative complex at Keswick have revealed the presence of a chemical.

In a press release issued Tuesday evening, officials with the BCHD shared, " Illnesses reported last Tuesday appear to have been caused by an accidental infusion of nitrites last Monday afternoon into the hot water heater that serves the affected half of the south building. This knowledge corroborates our last report that the hot water heater serving that side of the building was the source of those illnesses."

The hot water heater in question was isolated last Wednesday after the first reports of illness and has since been replaced.

Officials with the BCHD say they along with the Maryland Department of Health and Hygiene and Hopkins are continuing to monitor the situation.

Both buildings will be open on Wednesday, March 6 under the following conditions:

• All water to the north section of the south building will be turned off during the workday, and access to all water sources in that part of the building will remain blocked. After the workday ends, building management will continue to flush the water systems.
• Once building management in cooperation with health sanitation inspectors have completed flushing and retesting the system, city and state sanitation officers will recertify the water system for potability and conduct an inspection of the cafeteria.
 

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