GSK resumes production at plant where Legionella bacteria was detected

Legionella bacteria--Courtesy of CDC

The weeklong production hiatus at a GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) plant in the U.S. is over. The British drugmaker has resumed making products at its plant in North Carolina that it closed a week ago after routine testing detected the bacteria for Legionnaires' disease in two cooling towers at the site.

"GSK resumed operations at the main building located on the Zebulon manufacturing site at 7a.m. Monday," GSK spokeswoman Marti Skold Jordan said in a statement. "We are not anticipating any material supply disruption at this time and will continue to keep customers updated." She said all three shifts were called back. .

The company closed and cleared the facility last week. Because the cooling towers are external, the company said at the time that employees and products were not exposed to the Legionella bacteria, but because the cooling units are required for climate control in the plant, manufacturing had to be halted and employees sent home. The Zebulon plant, which GSK has been expanding in recent years, makes its Advair and Ellipta inhaler products as well as wide variety of tablet products.

An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in New York has infected 113 people since July 10, 12 of whom have died. It was tracked back to bacteria found in cooling towers of hotels. The state this week ordered all buildings with cooling towers to register them with the state and to conduct testing for the bacteria.

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