Roots of CDC


The Public Health Service established the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) in 1946 to work on malaria, typhus, and other infectious diseases. The center was located in Atlanta (rather than Washington, DC) because the South was the area of the country with the most malaria transmission. In the next 60 years, minor changes were made to the name (Center for Disease Control, Centers for Disease Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), but the initials, CDC, have remained the same.

Through the years, CDC's work has expanded to include all infectious diseases, as well as occupational health, toxic chemicals, injury, chronic diseases, health statistics, and birth defects. Reporting today to the Department of Health and Human Services and working in collaboration with public health partners, CDC tirelessly leads the fight against known, new, and emerging diseases around the globe. At the same time, CDC leads prevention efforts to reduce the burden of preventable and chronic diseases.