Business

GSK reopens Zebulon plant

GlaxoSmithKline resumed operations at the main building on its Zebulon campus Monday, six days after the discovery of Legionella bacteria forced the pharmaceutical company to shut down the facility.
GlaxoSmithKline resumed operations at the main building on its Zebulon campus Monday, six days after the discovery of Legionella bacteria forced the pharmaceutical company to shut down the facility. amoody@newsobserver.com

GlaxoSmithKline resumed operations at the main building on its Zebulon campus Monday six days after the discovery of Legionella bacteria forced the pharmaceutical company to shut down the facility.

The company does not expect the shutdown to disrupt available supplies of the drugs made in Zebulon. The plant, which employs about 850 people, makes Advair and Breo Ellipta, among other medications.

GSK said last week that the potentially deadly bacteria was found in two cooling towers that are used to maintain proper manufacturing conditions at the site. The company said no medications were tainted because the cooling towers are external units that have no contact with employees or products.

About 600 employees were affected by the shutdown. Operations resumed at 7 a.m. Monday.

The company cleaned the cooling towers and retested them for the presence of Legionella bacteria before resuming operations.

The Legionella bacteria causes Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia that has been blamed for 12 deaths and more than 100 infections this summer in New York, the largest outbreak in the city’s history.

The bacteria grows in warm water and is typically found in cooling towers, hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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