The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plant in Zebulon, N.C, which was shutdown earlier this week after the facility tested positive for Legionella bacteria in a self-standing cooling tower during routine inspections, will reopen on Monday.

This image shows Legionella colonies growing on a Petri dish. Image/Otto Schwake
This image shows Legionella colonies growing on a Petri dish.
Image/Otto Schwake

In a statement Friday, company officials said:

GSK plans to resume operations at the main building located on our Zebulon manufacturing site at 7am Monday, August 17, 2015. With the cleaning and disinfection of the affected cooling towers now complete, the air handling system will be restarted and is expected to return temperature and humidity in the main building to normal operating conditions. We are not anticipating any material supply disruption at this time and will continue to keep customers updated.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that the Raleigh-area manufacturing plant, which makes inhaled medications like Advair, said the cooling tower “does not come into contact with product manufactured at the facility.”

Nearly half of the facility’s employees were told to stay away until the towers are cleaned.

In a study published by the CDC this week, for 2011–2012, 32 drinking water–associated outbreaks were reported, accounting for at least 431 cases of illness, 102 hospitalizations, and 14 deaths. Legionella was responsible for 66% of outbreaks and 26% of illnesses.

Related news: 

Legionella cases top 120 in the Bronx as 20 sites identified as positive 

Belgium: Live polio virus solution accidentally released into local water

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today

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