Devon man who contracted bird flu tests negative - and he is keen to get more ducks

Alan Gosling has been isolating at home over the past week after testing positive for the virus. Credit: SWNS

A Devon man who contracted a strain of bird flu never seen in people in the UK before has now tested negative for the virus and is keen to get more birds.

Alan Gosling, 79, from Buckfastleigh, was keeping hundreds of ducks at his home when he contracted the virus.

He was distraught at having to cull his beloved pets and says he is keen to get more ducks.

Alan Gosling, seen here in 2013, said his Muscovy ducks were 'like family'. Credit: ITV West Country

Despite now testing negative, it is still unclear whether Alan's 18-day isolation can come to an end.

After finding out he had tested negative, Alan said: "I had a roar with laughter when they said to me. I thought, 'are you joking?'.

"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.

"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."

He went on to add he is looking forward to seeing his family saying: "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."

Alan kept around 140 ducks, 20 of which were inside his home. Credit: SWNS

Alan's daughter-in-law Ellesha Gosling 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.

''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.''

Bird enthusiast Alan is still furious about the traumatic end to his flock of ducks.

The strain of the bird flu identified in the South West of England has never before been confirmed in a human in the UK.

Despite his ordeal, he is keen to get new birds to look after, and his family have already been offered some.

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."

Alan Gosling and his unusual house guests in 2013. Credit: ITV West Country