UK: First human case of H5N1 bird flu found in Buckfastleigh, Devon *3 UPDATES*

Animals, England, Infection, Superspreader events, Symptoms, Testing, Transmission, UK, Vaccine

A person in the Buckfastleigh, Devon, in the south west of England has been confirmed as having contracted H5N1 bird flu, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said. In a statement, the agency said it is “extremely rare” for strains of avian influenza to pass from birds to humans.

They added: “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.

Laboratory analysis seems to have confirmed a H5N1 infection – the strain bird flu currently circulating in birds in the UK.

Sky News report


UPDATE 1 – 6th January 2022

The first man in Britain to catch the H5N1 strain of bird flu is a 79-year-old former railway worker who kept 20 Muscovy ducks INSIDE his home after befriending a flock of 160 which lived in nearby Devon river

Britain’s ‘patient zero’, Alan Gosling, a 79-year-old grandfather living in Devon, caught the virus from 20 Muscovy ducks living in his home in Buckfastleigh. He befriended them over a number of years, his family say.

The former railway worker is the first ever human case of H5N1 recorded in the UK.  The H5N1 virus can kill up to half of the people it infects.

Daily Mail report


UPDATE 2  – 9th January 2022

Alan Gosling’s family have set up a GOFUNDME campaign to help Alan disinfect his property

Alan Gosling GoFundMe page


UPDATE 3 – 9th January 2022

Family’s hell as Buckfastleigh ‘duck man’ infected with H5N1 strain.

Alan, 79, was known as ‘the duck man’ of Buckfastleigh where he created a bird sanctuary at his home beside the River Dart over the last 24 years to care for and heal injured, sick and dying Muscovy ducks.

Devonlive report


** What a sad story. What a kind soul Alan must be to befriend so many ducks. He must be a very lonely fellow now that all of his duck friends have gone. **

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Photo by Jari Hytönen on Unsplash