About the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases

At a glance

CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) saves lives through the prevention, early detection, and control of infectious disease threats.

Photo of a male laboratory worker using a pipette

Our mission

The National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) was established in 2010, with a mission and scientific activities that trace back to CDC’s earliest days. We are responsible for the prevention and control of a wide range of infectious diseases. This includes rare but deadly diseases like anthrax and Ebola, and more common illnesses like foodborne diseases and healthcare-associated infections.

Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are illnesses caused by germs that enter the body, multiply, and can cause an infection. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause infectious diseases. Infectious diseases can spread

  1. Between people
  2. Between people and animals
  3. Through vectors (like biting insects)
  4. Through food, water, and the environment

Emerging Infections

Emerging means infections that have increased recently or are threatening to increase in the future. These infections could be

  • Completely new diseases
  • Diseases new to an area
  • Reappearing in an area
  • Caused by bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics

Zoonotic Diseases

Zoonotic means a disease can spread between animals and people, like Lyme disease, Salmonella, and rabies.

Why it's important

Infectious diseases can spread quickly and quietly before an outbreak is found. NCEZID works to detect these outbreaks faster to limit the spread. Our work includes common diseases like Salmonella as well as emerging diseases like melioidosis and drug-resistant fungal infections. Infectious disease outbreaks cost money and lives, which is why preventing outbreaks is one of our most important roles.

Our work

To carry out our mission, we use many different tactics. We provide leadership in public health, conduct science, strengthen preparedness efforts, establish public health policy, share vital health information with the public, and build partnerships.

NCEZID works to build and strengthen public health capacity and readiness to address disease threats, including

  • Foodborne, waterborne, and fungal diseases
  • Antimicrobial-resistant infections
  • Infections spread in healthcare settings
  • Deadly diseases like Ebola, rabies, and anthrax
  • Illnesses that affect immigrants, migrants, refugees, and travelers
  • Diseases spread by mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and parasites
  • Diseases that spread between people, animals, and their environments
  • New diseases in the United States, like Zika and mpox

NCEZID also does important work contributing to the development of more effective vaccines, therapeutic drugs, and tools to diagnose diseases.


Portrait of Daniel Jernigan, MD, MPH
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Daniel Jernigan, MD, MPH, Director

Daniel Jernigan, MD, MPH, serves as the director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.