First photo of UK bird flu ‘patient zero’
The retiree named as the first person in the UK to be infected with bird flu has been “destroyed” after the slaughter of his entire flock of ducks, his family said.
Alan Gosling, 79, who has been named ‘avian flu patient zero’ in the UK, is now stuck indoors alone after testing positive for the disease, raising concerns in his family.
The father of three, from Buckfastleigh, Devon, welcomed a flock of local Muscovy ducks that originally lived near his home.
But after noticing that some of them were getting sick, the flock of 160 birds was slaughtered in an attempt to stop the spread of bird flu.
Doctors ordered Gosling to be tested for the disease and although the H5N1 strain had never infected a human before, the results came back positive.
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His family say he has now been ordered to stay inside his home while further tests are underway.
Her daughter-in-law Ellesha Gosling, 26, said: “The past two weeks have been hell. Alan told us when the birds were killed it was the ‘worst time of his life’.
âThe slaughter of his beloved ducks destroyed him – it shattered him. It was so stressful and an absolute nightmare for us as a family.
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âMy husband and I had to take time off work to deal with this.
“He asked about his health and we can’t answer any questions because we don’t know any answers.
âHe told us he wasn’t bad, but he’s really stubborn and we don’t think he would tell us if he was. We’re very worried.
âNot just from the flu but because those ducks were his closest family and he just lost them all at once and now he’s stuck inside himself. devastated. “
In addition to the flock of ducks, Gosling’s parakeets and cockatoos were also slaughtered.
He said: “I 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 mortuary. .
“I feel really good myself, it’s part of the story – I’m just upset that I lost all my ducks. It tore me apart and broke my heart.”
He added: âApparently I have the virus, as far as I know I have no illness.
“They took samples for me so they could figure out what to do to prevent others from getting it. I’m very happy to be able to help them. They took one sample after another.”
Gosling’s family are begging authorities to disinfect the property, but say they’ve been told he should pay for it.
A press release shared by the UK Health and Safety Agency (HSA) confirmed a case of bird flu in the southwest of England, but did not name Gosling.
He said: “Transmission of bird flu from bird to human is very rare and has previously only occurred a small number of times in the UK.
“The person acquired the infection as a result of very close and regular contact with a large number of infected birds, which he kept in and around his home for an extended period of time.
“The risk to the general public from bird flu continues to be very low. However, people should not touch sick or dead birds.”
Across the country, some parks and enclosures have been closed in an attempt to prevent a national bird flu epidemic from spreading.
They include St James’s Park in central London, which has taken precautionary measures by saying it will move its famous pelicans to an alternative enclosure.
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