OAP struck down by bird flu says he caught it when he was shielding from Covid — to protect his ducks

A PENSIONER struck down by bird flu says he caught it when he was shielding from Covid — to protect his pet ducks.

Alan Gosling, 79, has barely left his home since the first lockdown in March 2020 because he feared a coronavirus infection would force him away from his flock.

But they have now been culled anyway and he said: “They were my close friends and I’ve lost them.”

The grandad, the first Brit to catch a deadly strain of bird flu, lived with 20 of the wild Muscovy ducks in his riverside cottage.

We told yesterday how he was found to have bird flu when investigators swabbed him after his flock tested positive and were destroyed on New Year’s Day.

Lab tests show Alan is infected with the H5 strain of bird flu, most likely H5N1 but he feels physically fine

Speaking from isolation at his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon, the divorced dad of three told The Sun: “I stayed in because if I went down with Covid, there would be nobody to look after them.

“It’s only me. I thought they’d die. Then they went ahead and said they’d kill them all anyway.”

Symptoms of bird flu:

Call a GP or NHS 111 if you experience any symptoms of bird flu and have visited an area affected by bird flu in the past 10 days.

The main symptoms of bird flu can appear very quickly and include:

  • a very high temperature or feeling hot or shivery
  • aching muscles
  • headache
  • a cough or shortness of breath

Other early symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea
  • sickness
  • stomach pain
  • chest pain
  • bleeding from the nose and gums
  • conjunctivitis

It usually takes three to five days for the first symptoms to appear after you've been infected.

Within days of symptoms appearing, it's possible to develop more severe complications such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

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