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Thursday, 1 November, 2001, 18:42 GMT
NI health trusts hit by computer virus
Royal Victoria Hospital
Computer systems at the RVH were affected by the virus
Computers in hospitals across Northern Ireland have been hit by a disruptive virus which has affected systems and networks.

A "large number" of the 19 Health Trusts in the province were affected by the virus, which struck on Thursday.

The virus caused problems by "generating spurious network traffic", according to a Department of Health spokesman.

One of the bigger hospitals affected, the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, insisted that patients had not been affected by the disruption.

Contingency plans

A spokesperson for the hospital said the information technology department was confident that normal service would be resumed by Friday.

The affected trusts were isolated from the health and social services network as steps were taken to remove the virus.

"The number of systems affected was reduced as they were swept to remove the virus," the Department of Health spokesman said.

He added that contingency plans were in place in the trusts should ensure disruption was kept to a minimum.

An investigation has been launched to determine the source of the virus and how it entered the system.

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