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Inflation hits five-a-day recommendation, UK disease defences are 'not fit for purpose' and cats to continue spreading TB

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Tuesday 1 April.

The Guardian leads with story that scientists have recommended that people now eat seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

A study carried out by experts at University College London analysed the eating habits of 65,000 people using data from eight years of the Health Survey for England, and matched them with causes of death.

The clear finding was that eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, including salads, was linked to living a longer life generally and in particular to a lower chance of death from heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42% lower risk of death from all causes. It was also associated with a 25% lower risk of cancer and 31%lower risk of heart disease or stroke. Vegetables seemed to be significantly more protection against disease than eating fruit, they say.

There was a surprise finding – people who ate canned or frozen fruit actually had a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Meanwhile the Telegraph reports a warning that the UK’s defences against disease are ‘not fit for purpose’.

A serious outbreak of infectious disease could spread rapidly through the country and leave thousands dead or ill because life-saving treatments cannot be tested quickly enough, experts have warned.

Delays in approving clinical trials mean doctors face lengthy form-filling and administrative checks that prevent crucial tests being run in good time, according to Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust.

The warning by Farrar, a world expert on infectious diseases at Oxford University, is backed by other senior figures, including Sir Michael Rawlins, president of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Prof Peter Openshaw, who advised the government during the 2009 flu outbreak.

Calling for an overhaul, Farrar said the emergency trials needed to start within 24 hours of an epidemic emerging.

And finally the Telegraph reports that more people will catch TB from their cats, according to the president of the British Veterinary Association, Robin Hargreaves.

More people will catch TB from their cats because the disease is so widespread in wildlife, he said.

Mr Hargreaves, a cat owner himself, added: ‘It is going to happen again. It’s low risk, but not no risk.’

He said that infected animals should be put down and he would even put his own pet to sleep to protect family and neighbours.

It comes days after a couple from Berkshire were infected with TB by their pet kitten in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission.

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