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Public Health Preparedness & Response

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A health threat can appear at any moment, and the U.S. must be ready to respond. As America’s health protection agency, CDC is on call 24/7 and able to rapidly deploy disease detectives, lifesaving vaccines and medicines, and other support during a health emergency. Whether natural disasters, disease outbreaks, or deliberate attacks, CDC provides critical data, funds, and training to improve state and local preparedness capabilities.

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CDC's Emergency Operations Center can be activated at any time to combat outbreaks, pandemics, natural disasters, and many other threats.

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12 hours

CDC can deliver lifesaving medicines from the Strategic National Stockpile to anywhere in the U.S. in 12 hours or less.

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90 Percent

90% of Americans live within 100 miles of a Laboratory Response Network facility.

Key Accomplishments

  • Aided state responses to disasters through CDC’s 24/7 Emergency Operations Center.
  • Supported 5,000 frontline public health workers as first responders to help save lives and protect people during public health emergencies.
  • Kept communities safe by overseeing and regulating dangerous biological agents and toxins.
  • Advanced emergency preparedness through America’s Strategic National Stockpile with faster, more efficient ways to deliver lifesaving medicines and supplies to all parts of the U.S. in the shortest amount of time.

Better Protection

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CDC sent 20 health alert network notices in 2013 to clinicians with critical information about urgent health threats, the most since the network was created.

Ready for Anything - 24/7

CDC Emergency Operation Center

CDC operates an Emergency Operations Center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure America’s health security.

What does it mean to be ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep America safe from health threats? If you work in CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), it means exactly that—you always have to be ready for anything, at any time.

For example, when Hurricane Sandy pummeled the Atlantic seaboard, some local governments were overwhelmed. CDC’s EOC worked to support state and local public health departments. CDC also deployed personnel from its Strategic National Stockpile and seven Federal Medical Stations in New Jersey and New York as part of a Rapid Deployment Force. This coordinated effort was part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ response to a disaster that caused death, record flooding, and more than $70 billion in damage.

The EOC is a state-of-the-art health security command center located at CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. It manages responses to health threats using the Incident Management System, which is based on standardized emergency response systems used throughout the U.S. The EOC can be activated for health emergencies in the U.S. or globally. Recent activations include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS CoV) outbreak, the H7N9 virus, the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and cholera outbreak, and the H1N1 flu pandemic. The EOC monitors and forwards important information daily, fielding more than 1,500 calls a month from the public, healthcare providers, state and local governments, military bases, and international organizations.


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