The United Nations' food agency says the battle to contain the lethal form of avian flu in Indonesia is failing.

Joseph Domenech, the head of the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization, says the East Asian archipelago is facing "an uphill battle" trying to control the H5N1 form of the virus.

Domenech says he is concerned that the high levels of infected birds in Indonesia could help the virus mutate into a form that could be passed among humans, triggering a worldwide pandemic that could kill millions.

The H5N1 form of avian flu has killed nearly 240 people across Asia since it was first detected in 2003, including 105 in Indonesia.

Domenech says major financial and human resources, stronger political commitment and better coordination between all levels of government in Indonesia are needed to fight the virus.

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