More than 17,000 ducks will be culled in Spain after a highly contagious bird flu strain that has affected poultry throughout Europe was detected at a Catalunya region farm.

The virus is H5N8, which has seen hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese slaughtered across the border in the southwest of France. Up until now, the virus had only been detected in Spain in three wild animals.

The H5N8 strain can spread quickly in affected farms, often leading to the culling of thousands of birds. Joan Guix, in charge of public health in Catalunya, sought to ease fears, saying it was a virus “that does not spread to humans.”

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