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What We Do

Why It Matters

PHPR National Snapshot 2017

CDC is committed to strengthening the nation’s health security by protecting against public health threats, whether they begin at home or abroad, or if they are natural or man-made. We know that when we don’t respond quickly and to scale, outbreaks become epidemics, natural disasters become crucibles for illness, and the human toll of terrorist attacks can mount.

State and local health departments must stand ready to handle many different types of emergencies that threaten the health and resilience of families, communities, and the nation. Having people who know what to do, and having the resources in place to allow them to do their jobs, saves lives.

As one of the nation’s most critical public health investments, we have an obligation to capture our work annually and share lessons that inform our strategy over time. One way we do this is through our annual report, referred to as the National Snapshot for CDC’s preparedness and response investments.


Who We Are

An emergency can happen at any moment, and every community in the U.S. must be ready to respond. A pandemic, natural disaster, or chemical or radiological release often strikes without warning. No matter what the cause, the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response works with partners across the U.S. and the world to protect health 24/7.

CDC Activations

The CDC Emergency Operations Center (EOC) can be activated in response to natural or manmade disasters, disease outbreaks, and other public health emergencies. Since its inception in September 2001, the EOC has responded to more than 62 public health threats, including hurricanes, foodborne disease outbreaks, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and the Haiti cholera outbreak.

Current Activations:

2017 Hurricane Response

Clinicians and Health Departments

COCA prepares clinicians to respond to emerging health threats and public health emergencies by communicating relevant, timely information related to disease outbreaks, disasters, terrorism events, and other health alerts.


CDC’s Health Alert Network (HAN) is CDC’s primary method of sharing cleared information about urgent public health incidents with public information officers; federal, state, territorial, and local public health practitioners; clinicians; and public health laboratories.


Additional Resources