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Health Highlights: Sept. 11, 2020


Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

CMS Head Verma Spent Millions of Taxpayer Dollars to Polish Image: Report

Nearly $6 million of U.S. taxpayer's money was paid to consultants -- many with Republican ties -- to boost Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma's image, according to a report by congressional Democrats.

It says the money was spent on efforts such as trying to win awards, get Verma on lists of powerful women and arrange meetings with influential people, the Associated Press reported.

Verma has been in charge of the CMS since 2017.

"Congress did not intend for Administrator Verma or other senior CMS officials to use taxpayer dollars to stockpile CMS with handpicked consultants or promote Administrator Verma's public profile and personal brand," said the report that was released Thursday with more than 1,700 pages of supporting documents, the AP reported.

"Given the reckless disregard she has shown for the public's trust, Administrator Verma should reimburse the taxpayers for these inappropriate expenditures," it said.

The report is a "political smear," Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs, Health and Human Services Department, but he didn't deny any of the report's specific findings, the AP reported.

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Florida Teen Dies from Brain-Eating Amoeba

The parents of a 13-year-old boy in Florida who died from brain-eating amoeba want to warn others about the risk of the waterborne infection.

Tanner Lake Wall, 13, became ill after a family vacation last month at a North Florida campground that has a lake and water park. He was hospitalized and put on a ventilator, but taken off life support on Aug. 2 after he showed no brain activity, CBS News reported.

The teen's parents hope their tragedy alerts other families to the dangers of this amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri.

"So parents are aware, maybe they weren't thinking about it because I can sure tell you we weren't," the teen's father, Travis Wall said, CBS News reported. "We grew up swimming in ponds and creeks and stuff like that."

Typically found in warm fresh water, such as lakes, rivers and springs, Naegleria fowleri can get into the brain when contaminated water enters the nose, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

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Actress Diana Rigg Dies at Age 82

British actress Diana Rigg, best known for her role on the 1960s TV series "The Avengers," died Thursday at her home in London at age 82.

The cause was cancer, according to a statement by her daughter Rachael Stirling, The New York Times reported.

While her main claim to fame may have been as Emma Peel on "The Avengers," Rigg also earned praise for her performances in classic roles in front of London and New York theater audiences for more than a half-century.

The award-winning actress gained new fans playing Lady Olenna Tyrell on the series "Game of Thrones" between 2013 and 2016, the Times reported.

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