About Port Health

What to know

  • U.S. Port Health Stations are part of a comprehensive Port Health Protection (formerly known as Quarantine) system that serves to limit the introduction and spread of infectious diseases into the United States and to prevent their spread.

More Information


U.S. Port Health Stations are located at 20 ports of entry, including airports and land border crossings, where international travelers arrive.

They are staffed with CDC medical, veterinary, and public health officers. These health officers assess ill persons entering the United States or traveling between U.S. states or territories and decide what measures should be taken to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. They also oversee CDC regulations for importing certain animals and types of cargo that can spread infectious diseases to people.

Terms to know

Isolation and quarantine are two public health actions that can help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease and further spread of disease.

Isolation separates people who have a contagious disease from people who are not infected.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease, but who are not yet contagious, to prevent possible spread of disease if they develop infection.

What CDC is doing

The federal government derives its authority for isolation and quarantine from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The authority for carrying out these functions has been delegated to CDC. Federal isolation and quarantine under public health orders are authorized for certain contagious diseases by Executive Order of the President.

CDC works with partners in the United States and other countries to protect the health of people exposed to a contagious disease during travel and to protect their communities from contagious diseases that are just a flight away.

CDC in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, has implemented federal public health travel restriction procedures to protect travelers and the public from contagious diseases that constitute a public health threat.