UK’s bird flu ‘patient zero’ feels well but very lonely as he’s pictured in isolation


Alan Gosling, 70, was devastated last month when he watched his flock of around 160 ducks destroyed in a bid to control the H5N1 strain of avian flu

Alan Gosling says he ‘feels fine’ but can’t stop thinking about his culled ducks
Alan Gosling says he ‘feels fine’ but can’t stop thinking about his culled ducks

The UK’s bird flu ‘patient zero’ says he feels well but is very lonely as he is pictured in isolation.

Alan Gosling, 70, is believed to have been infected by the H5N1 strain by wild ducks he adopted and allowed into his home.

The flock started falling ill in December and around 160 were later culled, as well as Alan’s pet budgies and cockatoo.

As a precaution doctors tested retired train driver Alan, which came back positive.

The dad of three said: “As far as health is concerned, I’m fine, but I can’t stop thinking about the ducks.

“I’m as fit and healthy now as I was donkeys’ years ago, because looking after the ducks kept me busy and active every day.

Alan says he feels it and well as his isolation continues
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Image:

SWNS)

“By now, I would be back out with them, except I don’t have any because they killed them all.

“I can’t believe it – some of them I had for 12, 13 years since they were tiny chicks and I hand-reared them.

“They all had different stories – and then I had to watch them being killed and I couldn’t do anything to help them.

“At the moment, I don’t know what to do with my days. Before I would always be outside with the ducks, cleaning them out, keeping an eye on them – they kept my days fully booked and that was how I liked it.

Two of Alan Gosling’s pet ducks which were destroyed after bird flu was detected
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Image:

Gosling family / SWNS)

“People thought I was mad when they heard me shouting at them to come back in from the river, but that’s how it’s always been, until now.

“One of my other hobbies that I will try to get back into is restoring old clocks, but at the moment I can’t focus on anything else because my ducks are all I can think about.

“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.”

Daughter-in-law Ellesha Gosling, 26, and son Richard Gosling, 47, say they are worried about their relative.

Alan Gosling says watching the birds be destroyed was the ‘worst moment of his life’
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Image:

Gosling family / SWNS)

She said: “The past couple of weeks have been hell. Alan told us when the birds were killed, it was the ‘worst moment of his life’.

“The culling of his beloved ducks has destroyed him – it’s broken him. It has been so stressful and an absolute nightmare for us as a family.

“He has told us he is not poorly, but he’s really stubborn and we don’t think he would tell us if he was. We are very worried.

“Not just because of the flu, but because those ducks were his closest family and he has just lost all of them at once and now he’s stuck inside on his own.”

Alan Gosling’s family say they are very worried about him as he continues his isolation
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Image:

SWNS)

While the outside of the property has been partially cleaned, the family say the interior of the property remains contaminated until he is confirmed to be no longer infectious.

Despite his horror at watching his ducks being destroyed Alan has not ruled one day adopting more feathered friends.

He added: “Maybe one day I’d like some more ducks, or other birds, but it’ll never replace what I lost.

Alan is believed to be the first human infected with the new strain
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Image:

Gosling family / SWNS)

“It takes a long time to get them integrated into the area – all the other ducks knew exactly where to go and what to do because they get to know you and their home.

“Maybe one day, but for now I can’t think about that – all I can think about is that they knew exactly what was going on before they were killed.”

Yesterday the UK Health and Security Agency (HSA) confirmed a case in the South West of England, although did not name Alan.

Alan fears he will never replace what was lost
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Image:

SWNS)

A statement read: “Bird-to-human transmission of avian flu is very rare and has previously only occurred a small number of times in the UK.

“The person acquired the infection from very close, regular contact with a large number of infected birds, which they kept in and around their home over a prolonged period of time.

“The risk to the wider public from avian flu continues to be very low. However, people should not touch sick or dead birds.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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