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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) is a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services based in Atlanta. It works to protect public health and safety by providing information to enhance health decisions, and it promotes health through partnerships with state health departments and other organizations. The CDC focuses national attention on developing and applying disease prevention and control (especially infectious diseases), environmental health, occupational safety and health, health promotion, injury prevention and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.


File:CDC HDR I.jpg

CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, as seen from Emory University

The CDC was founded in 1942 during World War II as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities.[1] Preceding its founding, organizations with global influence in malaria control were the Malaria Commission of the League of Nations and the Rockefeller Foundation.[2] The Rockefeller Foundation greatly supported malaria control,[2] sought to have the governments take over some of its efforts, and collaborated with the agency.[3]

The new agency was a branch of the U.S. Public Health Service and Atlanta was chosen as the location because malaria was endemic in the Southern United States. The agency changed names (see infobox on top right) before adopting the title Communicable Disease Center in 1946. Offices were located on the sixth floor of the Volunteer Building on Peachtree Street. With a budget at the time of about $1 million, 59 percent of its personnel were engaged in mosquito abatement and habitat control with the objective of control and eradication of malaria in the United States.[4][citation needed] Among its 369 employees, the main jobs at CDC were originally entomology and engineering. In CDC's initial years, more than six and a half million homes were sprayed. In 1946, there were only seven medical officers on duty and an early organization chart was drawn, somewhat fancifully, in the shape of a mosquito.

CDC leader Dr. Joseph Mountin continued to advocate for public health issues and to push for CDC to extend its responsibilities to many other communicable diseases. In 1947, CDC made a token payment of $10 to Emory University for Template:Convert/acre of land on Clifton Road in DeKalb County, the home of CDC headquarters today. CDC employees collected the money to make the purchase. The benefactor behind the “gift” was Robert Woodruff, Chairman of the Board of the Coca-Cola Company. Woodruff had a long-time interest in malaria control; it had been a problem in areas where he went hunting.

The mission of CDC expanded beyond its original focus on malaria to include sexually transmitted diseases when the Venereal Disease Division of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) was transferred to the CDC in 1957. Shortly thereafter, Tuberculosis Control was transferred (in 1960) to the CDC from PHS, and then in 1963 the Immunization program was established.[5]

It became the National Communicable Disease Center (NCDC) effective July 1, 1967.[1] The organization was renamed the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on June 24, 1970, and Centers for Disease Control effective October 14, 1980.[1] An act of the United States Congress appended the words "and Prevention" to the name effective October 27, 1992; however, Congress directed that the initialism CDC be retained because of its name recognition.[6] CDC now operates under the Department of Health and Human Services umbrella.

Currently the CDC focus has broadened to include chronic diseases, disabilities, injury control, workplace hazards, environmental health threats, and terrorism preparedness. CDC combats emerging diseases and other health risks, including birth defects, West Nile virus, obesity, avian, swine, and pandemic flu, E. coli, auto wrecks, and bioterrorism, to name a few. The organization would also prove to be an important factor in preventing the abuse of penicillin.

In May 1994 the CDC admitted to having sent several biological warfare agents to Iraq from 1984 through 1989, including Botulinum toxin, West Nile virus, Yersinia pestis and Dengue fever virus.[7]

The CDC has one of the few Biosafety Level 4 laboratories in the country, as well as one of only two official repositories of smallpox in the world. The second smallpox store resides at the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR in the Russian Federation.

Budget and workforce

CDC’s 2008 budget was $8.8 billion. As of 2008, staff numbered ~15,000 (including 6,000 contractors and 840 Commissioned Corps officers) in 170 occupations.[citation needed] Almost 40 percent of staff have a master’s degree; 25 percent have a Ph.D.; and 10 percent have medical degrees.[citation needed] CDC job titles also include engineer, entomologist, epidemiologist, biologist, physician, veterinarian, behaviorial scientist, nurse, medical technologist, economist, public health advisor, health communicator, toxicologist, chemist, computer scientist, and statistician.[8]

In addition to the Atlanta headquarters, the CDC has 10 other locations in the United States and Puerto Rico. Those locations include Anchorage, Alaska; Cincinnati, Ohio; Fort Collins, Colorado; Hyattsville, Maryland; Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Spokane, Washington; and Washington, D.C.

The CDC also conducts the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the world’s largest, on-going telephone health survey system.[9]

The CDC offers grants that help many organizations each year bring health, safety and awareness to surrounding communities throughout the entire United States. As a government-run department, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention awards over 85 percent of its annual budget through these grants to accomplish its ultimate goal of disease control and quality health for all.[10]


At present, the President of the United States appoints the director. The appointment is automatic and does not require approval by the Senate. The director serves at the pleasure of the President and may be fired at any time.[11][12] Sixteen directors have served CDC or its predecessor agencies.[13][14]

Organizational restructuring

On April 21, 2005 then-director of CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, formally announced the reorganization of CDC to "confront the challenges of 21st-century health threats".[15] The four Coordinating Centers—established under the Bush Administration and Gerberding—"diminished the influence of national centers under [their] umbrella" and were ordered cut under the Obama Administration and Frieden in 2009.[16]


The CDC Foundation operates independently from CDC as a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in the State of Georgia. The creation of the Foundation was authorized by section 399F of the Public Health Service Act to support the mission of CDC in partnership with the private sector, including organizations, foundations, businesses, educational groups, and individuals.

Data and survey systems

Publications and film

The CDC campus in Atlanta houses facilities for the research of extremely dangerous biological agents.[25] This setting was featured in the Dustin Hoffman film Outbreak, although the location depicted in the film was supposed to be the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases bio-research facility. The CDC figures prominently in the book "Ready to Go: The History and Contributions of U.S. Public Health Advisors" by B.E. Meyerson, F.A. Martich and G.P. Naehr (ASHA, 2008). The CDC labs figure prominently in the books "The Demon in the Freezer" and "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston and "Virus Hunter" by C.J. Peters, former head of the Special Pathogens Branch at the CDC.[citation needed] The "Atlanta Plague center" which is in all likelihood a fictionalized version of the CDC appears in the Stephen King book The Stand.

It has been recently featured as a topic of "Haven" and "TS-19" in the popular AMC original televised production; The Walking Dead. The building shown in the show was, however, not the CDC itself but the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Diseases with which the CDC is involved


The CDC has launched campaigns targeting the transmission of the flu, including the swine flu (H1N1). The CDC has launched websites including [] to educate people.

Other infectious diseases

The CDC's website (see below) has information on other infectious diseases, including smallpox, measles, and much more.

Non-infectious disease

The CDC also combats non-infectious diseases, including obesity.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. "Records of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention". Guide to federal records. Archived from the original on 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nájera JA (June 2001). "Malaria control: achievements, problems and strategies". Parassitologia 43 (1-2): 1–89. PMID 11921521.
  3. Stapleton DH (2004). "Lessons of history? Anti-malaria strategies of the International Health Board and the Rockefeller Foundation from the 1920s to the era of DDT". Public Health Rep 119 (2): 206–15. PMC 1497608. PMID 15192908.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The History of Malaria, an Ancient Disease. Atlanta, GA, 2004.
  5. Beth E. Meyerson, Fred A. Martich, and Gerald P. Naehr (2008). Ready to Go: The History and Contributions of U.S. Public Health Advisors. (Research Triangle Park: American Social Health Association).
  6. CDC (1992). "CDC: the nation's prevention agency". MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 41 (44): 833. PMID 1331740. Archived from the original on 2010-11-18.
  7. "The eleventh plague: the politics of biological and chemical warfare" (p. 84-86) by Leonard A. Cole (1993)
  8. "CDC - Employment". Retrieved 2009-05-17.[dead link]
  9. "Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System". CDC: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved 2006-08-05.
  10. "CDC Grants at LoveToKnow Charity". Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Wilgoren, Debbi and Shear, Michael D. "Obama Chooses NYC Health Chief to Head CDC." Washington Post. May 16, 2009.
  12. Etheridge, Elizabeth W. Sentinel for Health: A History of the Centers for Disease Control. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1992. ISBN 978-0-520-07107-0; Patel, Kant; Rushefsky, Mark E.; and McFarlane, Deborah R. The Politics of Public Health in the United States. M.E. Sharpe, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7656-1135-2.
  13. "Past CDC Directors/Administrators." Office of Enterprise Communication. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. February 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
  14. Records of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Administrative History. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
  15. "CDC Office of Director, The Futures Initiative". CDC - National Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  16. New Chief Orders CDC to Cut Management Layers
  17. "CDC Data and Statistics". CDC - National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  18. "Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System". CDC - National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  19. "NCHS - Mortality Data - About the Mortality Medical Data System". CDC - National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
  20. "CDC - Publications". CDC - National Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  21. "State of CDC Report: Fiscal Year 2005". CDC - National Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  22. "Programs In Brief: Home Page". CDC - National Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Archived from the original on July 18, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  23. "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report - MMWR". CDC - National Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2006-08-10.[dead link]
  24. "Emerging Infectious Diseases". CDC - National Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  25. Multi-functional Coffins
  26. "Chinese center for disease control and prevention". Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2008-12-28.

External links

Template:HHS agencies Template:Atlanta history Template:Bioterrorism Template:Public health


ar:مراكز مكافحة الأمراض واتقائها de:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention es:Centros para el Control y Prevención de Enfermedades fr:Centres de prévention et de contrôle des maladies ko:미국 질병통제예방센터 id:Pusat Pengendalian dan Pencegahan Penyakit it:Centri per la prevenzione e il controllo delle malattie he:המרכז לבקרת מחלות ומניעתן nl:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ja:アメリカ疾病予防管理センター no:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pl:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pt:Centro para Controle e Prevenção de Doenças ru:Центры по контролю и профилактике заболеваний США fi:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sv:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tr:ABD Hastalık Kontrol ve Korunma Merkezleri vi:Trung tâm kiểm soát và phòng ngừa dịch bệnh (Hoa Kỳ) zh:美国疾病控制与预防中心

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