To further enhance its response to the Zika virus outbreak, CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is moving to its highest activation level to reflect the need for an accelerated preparedness effort in anticipation of local Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes in the Continental U.S.
Initially activated for the Zika response since January 22, 2016, the EOC is the command center for monitoring and coordinating the emergency response to Zika, bringing together CDC scientists with expertise in arboviruses, reproductive health, and birth and developmental defects.
Their work includes:
- Developing laboratory tests to diagnose Zika
- Conducting studies to learn more about the possible linkages with microcephaly and Guillain Barré syndrome
- Surveillance for the virus in the United States, including US territories
- On-the-ground support in Puerto Rico, Brazil and Colombia
A Level 1 activation of the EOC brings “all hands on deck”. It is part of CDC’s surge capacity, which allows them to mobilize staff and resources to assist in an international emergency.
The center is managed by CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Division of Emergency Operations. The EOC is currently home to more than 300 CDC staff working in collaboration with local, national, and international response partners to analyze, validate, and efficiently exchange information about the outbreak.
Since its inception in September 2001, the EOC has responded to more than 50 public health threats, including hurricanes, food borne disease outbreaks, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and the Haiti cholera outbreak. In addition to emergencies, the EOC may also be activated for planned events (e.g., presidential inaugurations and Olympics taking place in the U.S.) to monitor for incidents that may affect the public’s health.