CDC Timeline

Take a minute to review many of CDC’s momentous contributions to public health since it was organized in 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center.


2020s | 2010s |  2000s  |  1990s  |  1980s |  1970s  |  1960s  |  1950s  |  1940s


  • Timelineicon
    • CDC maps America’s high levels of physical inactivity
    • Public health screenings begin at three U.S. airports for 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
    • CDC activates Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Monday, January 20, to support public health partners responding to the outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China
    • CDC confirms person-to-person spread of new coronavirus in the United States
    • A CDC-developed laboratory test kit to detect 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) begins shipping to select qualified U.S. and international laboratories
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) names the new disease COVID-19
    • CDC launches the SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology, and Surveillance (SPHERES) consortium, expanding the use of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of the COVID-19 virus
    • June 25 marks the end of the 2018 Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of DRC
    • CDC discovers active ingredient, nootkatone, for development of new mosquito/tick insecticides and repellents
    • CDC launches a national campaign, Hear Her, which highlights warning signs of pregnancy-related death
    • Africa is declared free of wild poliovirus, the second virus eradicated from the continent since smallpox 40 years previously
    • Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) celebrates its 40th anniversary
    • CDC investigates a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Stanley infections linked to wood ear mushrooms

Page last reviewed: January 19, 2021