Devon man who caught bird flu has been ‘banned’ from keeping ducks for a year

Devon bird flu ‘patient zero’ has been left ‘absolutely devastated’ after being ‘banned’ from keeping ducks for over a year.

Alan Gosling, 79, was forced into self-isolation at his home in Buckfastleigh after becoming the first person in Britain to test positive for H5N1 earlier this month.

It is believed he caught the disease from one of the 20 Barbary fowl he kept at his home.

As a result, Alan’s flock of 160 pet ducks was culled earlier this month after some were infected with the deadly strain.

Read more:Partygate anger from Torbay doctor whose mother died in lockdown

But now out of solitary confinement, Alan hoped to adopt more ducks after speaking of his grief at losing his, which he says broke his heart.

However, stepdaughter Ellesha Gosling, 26, has now told the MailOnline how Alan was devastated after being banned from keeping ducks for a year.



Alan Gosling at his home in Buckfastleigh

She told the publication: “When the ducks were killed, her only hope was that she could 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.

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

Gutted Alan recently shared the heartache he felt at losing his ducks.



Two of Alan Gosling’s pet ducks

He said: “I wake up in the middle of the night thinking I’m having a nightmare and then I realize this is actually happening.

“I had kept my ducks for 20 years, they were my family – they were my life. Before I was never alone and now I’m stuck here with empty cages – it’s like a morgue.

“I feel perfectly fine myself, that’s part of the story – I’m just devastated to have lost all my ducks. It tore me to pieces and broke my heart.”

Alan is the first-ever human case of H5N1 – which is fatal to almost half of the people it infects – recorded in the UK and Europe.

Despite the death of millions of poultry around the world, the transmission of H5N1 from animals to humans is extremely rare.

There have been fewer than 1,000 cases worldwide since the virus emerged in the late 1990s. Human-to-human spread is even rarer.

A fundraiser has been launched to help Alan clean and disinfect his property. The page had so far raised £3,620. You can donate here.

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