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Atlanta, GA


Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Symantec's AntiVirus
Research Center today confirmed that foot-and-mouth disease cannot be
spread by Microsoft's Outlook email application, believed to be the
first time the program has ever failed to propagate a major virus.?? 
"Frankly, we've never heard of a virus that couldn't spread through 
Microsoft Outlook, so our findings were, to say the least unexpected," 
said Clive


Sarnow, director of the CDC's infectious disease unit.


The study was immediately hailed by British officials, who said it 
will save millions of pounds and thousands of man hours. "Up until 
now we have, quite naturally, assumed that both foot-and-mouth and 
mad cow were spread by Microsoft Outlook," said Nick Brown, Britain's 
Agriculture Minister. "By eliminating it, we can focus our resources 
elsewhere."


However, researchers in the Netherlands, where foot-and-mouth has
recently appeared said they are not yet prepared to disqualify Outlook, 
which has been the progenitor of viruses such as "I Love You," 
"Bubbleboy," "Anna Kournikova," and "Naked Wife," to name but a few. 
Said Nils Overmars, director of the Molecular Virology Lab at Leiden 
University: "It's not that we don't trust the research, it's just 
that as scientists, we are trained
to be skeptical of any finding that flies in the face of established
truth.?? And this one flies in the face like a blind drunk sparrow."


Executives at Microsoft, meanwhile, were equally skeptical, insisting
that Outlook's patented Virus Transfer Protocol (VTP) has proven 
virtually pervious to any virus. The company, however, will issue a 
free VTP patch if it turns out the application is not vulnerable to 
foot-and-mouth.?? Such an admission would be embarrassing for the 
software giant, but Symantec virologist Ariel Kologne insisted that 
no one is more humiliated by the study than she is. 


"Only last week, I had a reporter ask if the foot-and-mouth virus 
spreads through Microsoft Outlook and I told him, 'Doesn't everything?' 
she recalled. "Who would've thought?"



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