Spain's agriculture ministry has confirmed the country's first case of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

The ministry Friday said the strain was detected in a wild bird in the country's north.  A three-kilometer protection zone has been declared in the area where the bird was discovered.

Also Friday, a European Union health official said the threat of a bird flu outbreak among birds remains high, but the risk to European citizens remains low.

The head of the EU center for disease control told reporters that the deadly strain is a low level threat to public health, but it is one that must be taken seriously.

Health officials suggested that bird flu could reappear in Europe seasonally, as birds migrate from areas where the disease is more prevalent.

At least 131 people worldwide have died from the H5N1 strain since 2003.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.