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Tuesday, 19 January 2016 15:42

Royal Melbourne Hospital hit by Windows XP virus Featured


Work at the pathology department of the Royal Melbourne Hospital has been hit for several days by a virus which has infected computers running Microsoft's Windows XP operating system.

The processing of blood, tissue and urine samples has been done manually due to the infection, causing massive delays, according to reports on a number of websites, with The Age leading the way.

These reports were confirmed by the hospital when it issued a terse media release on Tuesday afternoon.

In it, the hospital, one of the largest in Melbourne, said: "Melbourne Health would like to reassure all of our patients and community that there are minimal disruptions to patient services today (Tuesday).

"Elective surgery and our Emergency Department are operating as normal. There have been a very small number of outpatient cancellations.

"Our staff have worked tirelessly over the past couple of days to maintain patient safety and ensure minimal disruption.

"Our IT team are making good progress in rectifying the issue and we hope to be back to normal as soon as possible."

Whether the computers running Windows XP are the hospital's own or have been supplied by an outsourcer is not clear.

Windows XP was released by Microsoft in 2001 and, after numerous updates — including more than 800 fixes in August 2004 — was considered one of the stablest ever to emerge from the Redmond-based company.

Though there have been four releases since then — Windows Vista (2006), Windows 7 (2009), Windows 8 (2012) and Windows 10 (2015) — many companies and individuals have preferred to stay with what they feel is a known devil, given the susceptibility of Windows to viruses, worms and every kind of malware known to the IT industry.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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