The Palestinian Health Ministry declared a state of emergency in Gaza on Monday following the deaths of approximately 600 chickens in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. It was feared the deadly bird flu virus was responsible for the deaths. An official statement from the Palestinian Health Ministry asked Palestinians to report any cases of suspected infections or unnatural deaths in fowl and other birds. They denied that the virus had been positively identified in fowl, and certainly not in humans in the Gaza Strip. In their efforts to determine whether an outbreak has erupted in the Gaza Strip, teams were set up in each of the counties of the Palestinian territories. The ministry has immediately ceased all import of fowl, especially from Egypt and Israel, according to an instruction handed down by their Health Ministry. Cases of bird flu have been confirmed on Thursday in some backyard gardens and rooftop coops in Egypt, however no cases were found in Israel. Samples from the birds suspected to be infected were to be sent to be tested in laboratories of the Israeli Agriculture Ministry.