(Springfield, IL) -- Nearly a dozen people in Illinois have fallen sick with a rare virus. Several hospitals have recently reported clusters of a severe respiratory illness, especially children. Officials say the virus is transmitted through person-to-person contact and by touching objects after an infected person has touched them. People can keep the virus at bay by washing their hands with warm, soapy water, avoiding shaking hands with people who are sick, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces. Anyone who's having a hard time breathing should see a doctor immediately and, they should stay home from work or school until they feel better.