UK bird flu ‘patient zero’ is ‘distraught’ after being banned from pet ducks


The UK’s bird flu ‘patient zero’ has been left in pieces after finding out he was banned from keeping ducks for a year, according to his family.

Alan Gosling’s pet ducks were culled earlier this month after they were found to be infected with the killer disease.

The retired train driver, 79, also tested positive and was forced to self-quarantine at his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon.

Alan has since gone negative and is now cleared to resume his daily life once a deep cleaning of his house is complete.

But relatives said he received a devastating blow when he was told he could no longer keep ducks for a whole year.

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Alan previously described his ducks, of which there were 160, as ‘family’

Alan has previously described his ducks, numbering 160, as “family”.

Her daughter-in-law Ellesha Gosling, 26, said: “When the ducks were killed, her only hope was to be able to get more.

“He thought hope was not lost because he could fill the void after losing his closest companions.

“But now he was told he wasn’t sure if any new ducks would go to his land for a whole year. Dad’s face deflated when he was told.

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“It really hurt him because that’s what kept him going. They took all his friends away and now he has nothing.”

It is understood that 20 of the 160 ducks stayed inside the house with Alan.

Alan was confirmed to be the UK's first case - despite showing no symptoms - and has been isolated in his empty home ever since
Alan was confirmed to be the UK’s first case – despite showing no symptoms – and has been isolated in his empty home ever since

All of Alan’s adopted ducks were put down after several fell ill in late December, leaving him alone for Christmas.

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They had tested positive for a new strain of bird flu, known as H5N1, and tests were also carried out on Alan as several had lived inside his house with him.

Days later he was also confirmed to be the UK’s first case – despite not showing any symptoms – and has since remained in self-isolation in his empty home.

He said of the slaughter: “I keep turning it over in my head and when I go to sleep it’s what I dream about – it never leaves my mind.

“They were like my family and I miss them terribly. I hand raised them from chicks and some of them were 12 or 13 years old.”

Alan tested negative for the virus just a day after testing positive and has since been given the all clear.



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