SOFIA - Bulgaria will begin culling about 19,000 laying hens on an industrial farm in the south of the country on Monday after detection of a highly infectious strain of bird flu, the regional food safety authorities said.

This is the third outbreak at the farm in the village of Krivo Pole, near the city of Haskovo, in the past three years, the head of the regional food safety agency told reporters.

The risk to humans from the disease is considered to be low, but past outbreaks among farm birds have resulted in extensive slaughtering programmes to contain the spread.

The Netherlands and France have also suffered a resurgence in cases of the highly lethal form of avian flu.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova Editing by David Goodman)