Drugmaker Glaxo closes plant where inhalers are made over discovery of Legionnaires' bacteria

Markets Associated Press

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is shutting down a plant that produces inhaled medications after discovering the bacteria that causes Legionnaire's disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.

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The manufacturing plant in Zebulon, about 25 miles east of Raleigh, was closed Tuesday after testing found the bacteria in cooling towers. The London-based company said it was found during routine testing. About 400 employees were told to stay away until the towers are cleaned.

Spokeswoman Jenni Brewer Ligday said it was not immediately clear whether there was any effect on medications produced.

The same bacteria found in water tanks in the Bronx section of New York City caused 12 Legionnaires' disease deaths this summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 8,000 to 18,000 Americans are hospitalized with the illness annually.