Global Disease Detection Operations Center: About Us
The Global Disease Detection (GDD) Operations Center serves as CDC’s program dedicated to detecting and monitoring global public health events of international importance using event-based surveillance (EBS). Event-based public health surveillance looks at reports, stories, rumors, and other information about health events that could be a serious risk to public health (1).
For more information on the GDD Operations Center, see the Global Disease Detection Operations Center Fact Sheet [1 Page, 405 KB].
The GDD Operations Center scans multiple sources of information about disease events, including media and the internet, for key words in over 50 languages. GDD Operations Center staff review both official information sources (such as reports from ministries of health or WHO) and unofficial media reports. All unofficial reports are verified through a global network of public health professionals and reviewed for signs of emerging threats to the public’s health.
The GDD Operations Center monitors around 30-40 reported public health events each day, with particular emphasis on CDC’s current or potential outbreak and emergency responses (2).
Verification is key to determining whether a public health event is truly occurring. Through rapid information gathering, prompt verification, and timely dissemination of information, the GDDOC ensures that CDC is always prepared to respond. CDC response teams can deploy internationally within 24 hours of learning about an outbreak.
The GDDOC is situated within the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The GDD Operations Center participates in EOC activations as needed. A list of outbreaks the GDDOC responded to by year is located on the Response & Deployments page.
- Between March 2014 and May 2016, the Global Disease Detection Operations Center (GDDOC) tracked over 269 outbreaks in over 145 countries
- The GDDOC monitors approximately 30-40 public health threats each day
The GDD Operations Center partners with several institutions and agencies within the US and internationally to exchange information. Information sharing is built on trust and an understanding of how to appropriately handle information, particularly when it is not yet public (1). International partners and collaborators include but are not limited to agencies affiliated with WHO and the UN, collaborating countries’ ministries of health and agriculture, humanitarian organizations, and animal health organizations.
Because of its partnerships, the GDD Operations Center is often the first to alert CDC staff about an international outbreak, natural disaster, or other public health event – whether biological, chemical or radiological. The GDD Operations Center staff collaborates with experts from across CDC, providing a strong foundation to report the most accurate and timely information about an event and the risk it poses to public health.
If assistance is requested by the country or region experiencing an outbreak, information is exchanged to identify and confirm outbreaks, gather epidemiologic information, and launch joint responses. The GDD Operations Center participates in the Biosurveillance Indications and Warning Analytic Community (BIWAC), a US government interagency collaboration that exchanges information through an online portal to verify the earliest signals of a potential threat. GDD Operations Center is also the CDC liaison for WHO’s Global Alert and Response Network (GOARN), detecting, assessing and verifying events and responding to requests for international assistance to control disease outbreaks (3).
- World Health Organization. Implementation of early warning and response with a focus on event-based surveillance. 2014.
- Christian KC, Ijaz K, Dowell SF, Chow CC, Chitale RA, Bresee JS, et al. What we are watching—five top global infectious disease threats, 2012: a perspective from CDC’s Global Disease Detection Operations Center . Emerging Health Threats Journal 2013. 6:20632.
- World Health Organization. Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) [accessed 2016 April 27].