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Protecting the Nation′s Health Security by Global Reach

CDC 24/7: Protecting the Nation′s Health Security by Global Reach [PDF - 373 KB]

Photograph of a physician examining a child.

CDC is the only U.S. government agency with the scientific expertise to quickly respond to infectious disease outbreaks. But if there is a weakness in the health monitoring system in any one country, it becomes a threat to all countries. Because of this critical need, CDC created the Global Disease Detection Program (GDDP) and began establishing regional centers throughout the world. These well–placed centers build the ability to detect and respond to disease threats and close the gaps in vulnerable geographic areas. Currently, there are eight regional centers (more are being planned) in China, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Africa, and Thailand.

Global Regional Centers for Disease Detection

Photograph of a physician examining a child at a local site This risk to U.S. national and global interests stresses the need for a coordinated, connected system, and the value of these GDDP regional centers has already been demonstrated. In 2010, with the help of CDC, the regional centers worked on over 156 outbreaks; 71% received a response within 24 hours, 85% found an identified cause for the outbreak, and 55% led to preventive actions or policy changes that saved lives. Most importantly, none of these outbreaks became a health threat to the United States.

Some of the potential health threats that were prevented or controlled last year include:

  • Anthrax in Scotland – CDC staff were deployed and provided an anti–toxin
  • Botulism in Thailand – CDC provided and shipped anti–toxin
  • Cholera in Haiti, Africa, and other countries – CDC staff were deployed and provided training, technical guidance, supplies, and equipment
  • Legionella in Mexico – CDC staff were deployed to assist with the outbreak

Protecting U.S. Borders from Health Threats

Keeping U.S. borders safe from emerging infectious diseases is part of the work CDC is doing 24/7. Our – activities include detecting and responding to health threats, providing specialized training in field investigations and laboratory methods, preparing and responding to pandemics, detecting and preventing zoonotic (animal–to–human) disease transmission, and providing emergency preparedness and risk communication training. CDC is:

  • Partnering with other U.S. agencies, including those responsible for defense and diplomacy
  • Supporting public health and national security interests
  • Developing and helping put into place disease surveillance systems
  • Promoting development of safe laboratory systems and diagnostics

Global Health Security

Photograph of a line of people waiting on an administratorCDC partners with other U.S. agencies to make certain of health security around the world by focusing its activities in four primary areas.

  • Cooperative Biological Engagement Program. In collaboration with the Department of Defense, CDC supports a broad range of overseas activities focused on developing host country capacity in laboratory biosecurity, biosafety, as well as disease detection, surveillance, response, and containment.
  • Biosecurity Engagement Program. In conjunction with the Department of State, CDC provides technical assistance to strengthen laboratory systems, including laboratory quality management systems, epidemiology and surveillance capacity, management and workforce development training, electronic disease surveillance data collection and reporting systems, and subject matter expertise across a range of infectious diseases.
  • Emerging Pandemic Threats Program. CDC provides technical support in field epidemiology training and zoonotic diseases research in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development. This program emphasizes early identification of and response to dangerous pathogens in animals before they can become significant threats to human health.
  • International Influenza Unit. CDC provides leadership and support for international influenza activities.

For more information on global disease detection, visit or call 1–800–CDC–INFO.

  • Page last reviewed: March 19, 2014
  • Page last updated: March 19, 2014
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