The Indonesian Government will intensify its search for poultry infected with avian influenza in the capital, Jakarta, Anton Apiyantono Minister of Agriculture said yesterday (19 December).

An H5N1 surveillance operation will be launched Thursday (22 December), the Dow Jones Newswire reported today. Inspection teams of students and military personnel will search private property for infected poultry.

“We will search houses and when we find positive cases in poultry, we will do culling,” Apiyantono said.

The Indonesian Government has resisted calls for a mass slaughter of poultry within a three-kilometre radius of any confirmed cases because it lacks the necessary funds to compensate farmers.

Details of the cost of the effort, its duration or the manpower involved were not provided.

Indonesia has recorded 14 confirmed cases of H5N1 in humans since July, with a total of nine fatalities. International health officials have warned that Indonesia, like Vietnam and Cambodia, is a potential weak-point in the global efforts to prevent the development of a mutant strain of the disease.