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Drug factory closed after legionella scare

Legionnaires'-disease-2USA: Drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline temporarily closed its North Carolina factory on Tuesday after a cooling tower on the site tested positive for legionella.

With the country on high alert following the legionnaires’ disease outbreak in New York, the plant in Zebulon was shut down as a precautionary measure. It is expected to be back in production by the weekend.

In a statement yesterday, the company said: “A temporary shutdown of one building located on the Zebulon GSK manufacturing site took place on August 11 after routine testing found Legionella bacteria in two of the building’s external cooling towers.

“Given location and level of bacteria found, this situation posed no risk to the products manufactured inside the building. GSK elected to close the building because operational cooling towers are necessary to maintain temperature and humidity for proper manufacturing and work conditions. The cooling towers are external units with no contact with product or employees.”

The company added that it anticipated resuming production in the next 72 hours after cleaning, disinfecting, and returning the plant back to normal operating conditions.

Reports from the local WNCN news channel yesterday:

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