UK's bird flu 'patient zero' banned from keeping ducks for another year

·2-min read
Alan Gosling has been told he can't keep ducks for at least a year. (SWNS)
Alan Gosling has been told he can't keep ducks for at least a year. (SWNS)

The UK's bird flu "patient zero" has been left heartbroken after being banned from keeping birds for a year.

Alan Gosling, 79, contracted bird flu after adopting a flock of ducks and taking them into his home.

The flock has since been culled while the retired engineer and father of three was forced to self-isolate at his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon, after testing positive for the disease.

He went on to test negative and was planning to adopt more ducks but his family have now revealed that he has been told he cannot keep any pet birds for a whole year.

Watch: Thousands of chickens killed and disposed off due to bird flu outbreak

Gosling's daughter-in-law Ellesha Gosling, 26, told Mail Online: "When the ducks were killed, his only bit of hope was that he'd be able to get more."

But she said he had now been told it was not safe for any more birds to go onto his land for at least a year, leaving him distraught.

She added: "It really hurt him because that's what was keeping him going. They took away all his friends and now he has been left with nothing."

People were told not to feed the ducks in Buckfastleigh, Devon, where Gosling lives. (SWNS)
People were told not to feed the ducks in Buckfastleigh, Devon, where Gosling lives. (SWNS)

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Gosling previously spoke of the heartbreak of having his pet ducks culled, comparing them to his family.

He said: "I miss them like hell. They broke my heart, they have been with me for such a long time.

"All of them were very, very close to me, they knew exactly what I was doing. I used to call them and they'd come, it was like having a dog really."

Gosling's ducklings which were culled after they were found to have bird flu. (SWNS)
Gosling's ducklings which were culled after they were found to have bird flu. (SWNS)

The 79-year-old had more than 100 Muscovy ducks living outside his home and noticed several falling ill before Christmas.

Tests carried out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha) found the animals had the H5N1 strain of avian flu, prompting them to be culled.

Gosling tested positive for the flu virus and also the H5N1 strain of avian flu, a UK first for humans, making him the UK's 'patient zero'.

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