Since August, enterovirus D68, has sickened children across the country and may be responsible for the deaths of five children.

Dr Mary Anne Jackson, chief of the infectious diseases section at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo, and Dr Aaron Milstone of Johns Hopkins Childrens Centers briefed reporters on the outbreak Thursday morning at the IDWeek meeting in Philadelphia.

Bottom line: There are still a lot more questions than answers about the outbreak and how the virus might affect children’s health in the future, but we’re learning. Here’s what infectious disease specialists have found out to date.

  • This is the largest outbreak of EV-D68 ever recorded.
  • Children who don’t have asthma are also at risk. 
  • If your child is sick with a respiratory illness, you don’t have to get them tested for EV-D68.
  • The best way to prevent getting sick with enterovirus D68 is to wash your hands.

The one thing that parents and doctors would probably most like to know is the least clear — whether the rare cases of paralysis that have been reported in children who had been ill.