I received this notice at work today; The Oregon Public Health Division was notified on Tuesday, February 12 of three cases of severe, community-acquired respiratory illness. The cases were all under 35 years of age and had cough, sore throat, and general malaise, with progression within 3 days to respiratory failure; two have died. Cause(s) Unknown at this time. Two cases had positive rapid tests for influenza, one was positive for MRSA, and the third had a positive throat culture for group A strep. Other similarities that the cases share include a low white blood count, a low platelet count, and many infiltrates on the chest X-ray. Wash your hands and wash them frequently. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol based hand sanitizers may be substituted for soap and water. Please note that the alcohol based hand sanitizers don’t kill viruses and there is no better way to kill germs than a 20 second hand wash. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touched his/her eyes, nose, or mouth. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and even errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of your tissue in the waste basket.