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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has shutdown its pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Zebulon of North Carolina, US, after detecting the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease.

The company found the bacteria at the factory’s self-standing cooling tower, which is a standalone structure that will not come in contact with any products.

Legionnaire’s disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any species of Gram-negative aerobic bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella.

GSK spokeswoman Jenni Brewer Ligday was reported by Reuters as saying that the Legionella bacteria has been discovered during routine inspections at the site in Zebulon.

Ligday also said that the facility will be reopened when the situation comes under control.

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“The facility will be reopened when the situation comes under control.”

According to GSK, the Zebulon facility includes around 4,400 manufacturing, research and development, and sales and marketing staff.

Zebulon facility manufactures asthma drugs such as Advair, as well collaborates with other pharmaceutical firms to produce their drugs.

Recently, New York City’s Department of Health ordered inspection and cleaning of all cooling towers in the city, as the same bacteria was that caused 12 deaths was found in cooling tanks in the Bronx area of the city.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the bacteria is generally found in warm water and grows rapidly in environments such as hot tubs, cooling towers, water tanks, large plumbing systems and fountains.

Image: TEM image of L. pneumophila, responsible for over 90% of Legionnaires’ disease cases. Photo: courtesy of CDC.