Bird flu 'patient zero' tests negative for virus – and plans to get more ducks

Alan Gosling at his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon. 7th January 2022  See SWNS story SWTPbird. The family of a retiree named as the UK's bird flu 'patient zero' say they are worried about him - as he is locked inside all alone. Alan Gosling, 79, was identified yesterday (January 6) as the first person across the nation to become infected with a particular strain of avian flu. The dad-of-three, from Buckfastleigh, Devon, was tested after some of his ducks fell ill in late December - which resulted in all 160 of his flock being culled soon after. Health authorities ran tests to see if Alan had become infected despite the fact the H5N1 strain had never infected a human before - and he came back positive.
Alan Gosling said he has tested negative for bird flu after previously returning a positive test. (SWNS)

The UK’s bird flu “patient zero” says he has tested negative for the virus – and now plans on getting more ducks.

Alan Gosling, 79, was named last week as the first person in the country to contract a new strain of bird flu.

The retired engineer and father of three had lived with about 20 ducks inside his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon, with more living outside.

He has been self-isolating since 22 December last year after returning a positive test, but says he received a phone call on Friday informing him his latest test had come back negative.

He said he greeted the news of his negative test with a “roar of laughter”.

Read more: UK's first bird flu patient describes heartbreak after cull of pet ducks

"It doesn’t really make a great deal of difference because I don’t go outside at the moment because of all the other pandemics,” said Gosling.

"I’m fine, I've got no aches and pains or anything. They keep ringing me and asking me how I feel and I say I feel perfect.

"I'm quite honoured with the fact anything they found when they're testing it's going to help produce a medication and that's the main thing."

Ducks can still been seen swimming on a river in Buckfastleigh, Devon.. 7th January 2021  See SWNS story SWTPbird. The family of a retiree named as the UK's bird flu 'patient zero' say they are worried about him - as he is locked inside all alone. Alan Gosling, 79, was identified yesterday (January 6) as the first person across the nation to become infected with a particular strain of avian flu. The dad-of-three, from Buckfastleigh, Devon, was tested after some of his ducks fell ill in late December - which resulted in all 160 of his flock being culled soon after. Health authorities ran tests to see if Alan had become infected despite the fact the H5N1 strain had never infected a human before - and he came back positive.
Ducks swimming on a river in Buckfastleigh, Devon, last week. (SWNS)

Gosling hopes to see his son, Richard, 47, and daughter-in-law Ellesha, 26, again after isolating for almost three weeks.

He said: "It will be nice to have somebody to come in and here and talk to. I haven't got any birds to talk to now, the ducks have gone.

"They were my family they were, I had a few in here and they were very close."

Ellesha said: “Dad had a call from a health and safety authority doctor telling him his latest swab has come back clear and he is now bird flu clear.

Alan Gosling at his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon. 7th January 2022  See SWNS story SWTPbird. The family of a retiree named as the UK's bird flu 'patient zero' say they are worried about him - as he is locked inside all alone. Alan Gosling, 79, was identified yesterday (January 6) as the first person across the nation to become infected with a particular strain of avian flu. The dad-of-three, from Buckfastleigh, Devon, was tested after some of his ducks fell ill in late December - which resulted in all 160 of his flock being culled soon after. Health authorities ran tests to see if Alan had become infected despite the fact the H5N1 strain had never infected a human before - and he came back positive.
Alan Gosling at his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon, during his isolation after testing positive for bird flu. (SWNS)

“He tested positive over the New Year but the latest test has come back negative.

“We still need more details about what that means for dad and when he can go out again. It's been such a horrible time for him.”

Gosling 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. They were killed shortly after Christmas.

Read more: UK experiencing largest ever outbreak of bird flu as thousands culled

Gosling tested positive for the flu virus and also the H5N1 strain of avian flu, a UK first for humans.

He said: "I'd like to have my bloody ducks back, 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.

Signs tell people not to feed the ducks in the town centre of Buckfastleigh, Devon. 6th January 2021  Buckfastleigh is believed to be at the centre of a human case of bird flu. See SWNS story SWPLflu. A human is believed to have become the first in the UK to be infected with a new strain - of BIRD FLU. The infected individual caught what is believed to be 'a H5N1' version of avian influenza after close, regular contact with a large number of infected birds. These had been kept in and around their home over a long period, authorities confirmed today. Bird to human transmission of the flu is very rare and has only occurred a small number of times in the UK previously, the UK Healthy Security Agency said.
Signs tell people not to feed the ducks in the town centre of Buckfastleigh, Devon. (SWNS)

"I'm disgusted with the way they killed them."

Gosling said he hopes to get more ducks in the future.

A press release issued last week by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed there had been a human case of bird flu in the South West of England. There have been a number of cases in animals in the past few weeks across the country.

Watch: Thousands of chickens killed because of bird flu outbreak