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Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline temporarily closed a North Carolina factory on Tuesday after testing at a cooling tower found bacteria that causes deadly Legionnaire's disease.
The Legionella bacteria were discovered during routine inspections at the site in Zebulon, N.C., the company said.
The shutdown is not expected to disrupt supplies of medicines made at the factory, which include GSK's $7 billion-a-year inhaled respiratory drug Advair. Advair is also made at two other sites in Ware, England, and Evreux, France.
GSK said the shutdown was a precautionary measure and the Zebulon site would reopen when the situation was remedied. The tower is a stand-alone structure that does not come in contact with any products.
"The cooling towers will be cleaned and retested before the site goes back into operation. GSK is taking these precautions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, as well as the safety and integrity of our products," the group said in a statement.
Spokeswoman Jenni Brewer Ligday said 600 workers were sent home or told not to come in while the towers were being cleaned.
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