Port Health

Who We Are

The Division of Global Migration Health (DGMH) works 24/7 to safeguard America from public health threats, both foreign and domestic. We are scientists, doctors, nurses, veterinarians, data experts, educators, communicators, and emergency responders. Our public health officers help protect more than 360 million travelers who arrive at US ports of entry by land, air, and sea—nearly 1 million per day.

What We Do

A CDC public health officer responds to a sick international traveler who just arrived in Los Angeles. Photo credit to Kenta Ishii, CDC.

We protect America’s health at US ports of entry by detecting, responding to, and helping to prevent the spread of contagious diseases into the United States. Our responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating sick travelers arriving at US ports of entry
  • Alerting other passengers about potential exposures and steps they can take to protect themselves
  • Restricting the importation of animals and products that may carry disease

Where We Work

CDC Port Health Stations are located where most international travelers arrive at 20 US ports of entry, and they cover all 300-plus US ports of entry.

Map of the United States, organized by state/region to show locations of 20 Quarantine Stations and their jurisdictions. These stations and their respective jurisdictions are as follows: Anchorage: Alaska. Honolulu: Hawaii and Guam. Seattle: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. San Francisco: Northern California and Wyoming. Los Angeles: Southern California (with the exception of San Diego), Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. San Diego: Southern California/Mexico border region and Arizona. El Paso: New Mexico and West Texas. Houston (including Dallas): North and East Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Minneapolis: Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska. Chicago: Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana. Detroit: Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. Atlanta: Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina. Miami: Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. San Juan: Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. Washington, DC: Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. Philadelphia: Delaware and Pennsylvania. Newark: New Jersey. New York (including Boston): New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

How We Work Together

Quarantine officer at an airport reviewing data collected from an airline contact investigation. Image courtesy of Greg Knobloch.

We collaborate with other federal agencies like Customs and Border Protection to restrict importation of products that could be harmful to US health.

We partner with local health officials to prevent anyone with certain infectious diseases from traveling and exposing others.

We work with airlines and cruise lines to identify sick travelers and alert other passengers of their potential exposure.

Program in Action

Disease is just a flight away. It’s our job to make sure one sick traveler doesn’t become 100 sick people in your community.

A CDC public health officer checks the rabies vaccination certificate of a dog in a kennel just arrived into the United States. Photo credit to Derek Sakris, CDC.

Regulating US entry of animals and restricting animal products:

  • Dogs must be healthy and, with limited exceptions, be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Nonhuman primates may only be imported for scientific, educational, or exhibition purposes—after detailed medical exams and quarantine for diseases like Ebola.
  • Animal products harmful to human health are prevented from entering the United States.

Preparing for emergency responses:

  • We collaborate with other agencies and organizations to partner on public health emergency exercises and responses.

Responding with life-saving drugs:

  • We can send lifesaving drugs on the next flight to rush essential, emergency drugs for a patient with malaria, botulism, or diphtheria.

Photo credit to the following CDC staff (top to bottom): Kenta Ishii, Erin Rothney, Greg Knoblock, and Derek Sakris.

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