The Stuxnet virus that crippled the Iranian power grid by taking down three hydroelectric dams, two nuclear power plants and a small generator outside Adeli Deli in Tehran, has crossed the species barrier by infecting a human operator.
"We're terrified," said Hassan Nazmir, Tropical and Communicable Diseases expert at Tehran University. "We've never seen a computer virus so virulent that it can cross the silicon divide into carbon. We have isolated the individual, and we hope that he has not already passed it on."
Tests in laboratory mice have shown that they too can catch the virus. An entire colony of mice have already been wiped out.
"The symptoms start like a mild cold," said Nazmir. "A runny nose, a cough, a shutting down of the vital infrastructure of the body, starting with the power generators, leaving the sufferer tired and achy."
These symptoms can persist for several weeks until the thirty-first day of the month, at which point the virus takes complete control of the infected person and shuts down their intelligence network, or brain to use the medical term, and paralyses the power transmission lines, or nerves as they are less commonly known.
"Muscles degenerate rapidly," said Nazmir, apologising for being too technical. "This leads to a total paralysis within seconds."
So far, Tehran has seen only one case, but with the thirty-first rapidly approaching, the capital is bracing itself for a sudden mass outbreak. The Iranian government has asked that anybody with the mild symptoms contacts their local medical teams.
"We don't currently have a cure for the Stuxnet virus," admitted Nazmir. "We're struggling to install the latest Sophos Anti-Virus on people. We may have to try a Kaspersky, or, Allah-forbid, Norton. However, people should still come into hospital so that we can take them out of the network."
McAfee have said that they will not be producing a human version of their anti-virus software due to a copyright infringement from McDonald's.