Dutch health authorities are destroying 8000 ducks in a bid to tackle the spread of bird flu, which has infected three farms in a week in the Netherlands, a leading poultry and egg exporter.

A government statement said ducks were being culled in the central town of Barneveld as a precaution because authorities want to eliminate all risks after the H5N8 virus spread to three out of 12 provinces since last Sunday. The operation will increase to 211,000 the number of birds destroyed since the first infection was discovered last Sunday.