Nightly News | October 27, 2012
>>> we're back now with an update on the deadly outbreak of viral meningitis tied to tainted steroid injections. the cdc said today 25 people have died. the number of cases up to 344 in 18 states. there are disturbing new findings involving the massachusetts pharmacy that made the drugs. the latest from nbc senior investigative correspondent lisa myers .
>> reporter: george kerry's wife lillian died of meningitis after she and her husband received injections of tainted steroids for back pain.
>> it's a tragedy that my wife and i and the thousands of other people have been exposed to this contaminated medication.
>> reporter: now his family says george is in the hospital with meningitis, though it's not yet confirmed that tainted steroids are the cause.
>> this is a large and ongoing catastrophe.
>> reporter: one leading expert predicts there will be many more victims.
>> i think we are in the middle of the meningitis outbreak. and the end is not yet in sight.
>> reporter: the fda revealed friday that federal inspectors who investigated the new england compounding facility found greenish black foreign matter and white filamentous material and supposedly sterile vials and residue in clean rooms or those used to mix medicines. the fda said the pharmacy's sampling repeatedly found bacteria and mold in supposedly sterile rooms between january and september 2012 . yet no documented corrective actions were taken. an nacc spokesman said we will review this report and will continue our cooperation with the fda .
>> the fact that this has been occurring, it seems like under the noses of the federal and state regulators is shocking.
>> reporter: massachusetts regulators are under fire for rejecting a staff recommendation six years ago to reprimand the company and put it on probation after necc claimed that could put it out of business. the company was allowed to simply agree to change procedures. state officials say they are now reviewing the decision. the fda said its authority is limited but it is committed to strengthen the system to prevent future tragedies. lisa myers , nbc news, washington.