EARLY YEARS

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - COMMUNITY -

On July 1, 1946, the Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­ease Cen­ter was founded. It is still called the CDC but its full name is the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

The agency was es­tab­lished the year after World War II ended, de­scended from the wartime agency, Malaria Con­trol in War Ar­eas and was part of the United States Pub­lic Health Ser­vice.

The CDC be­gan on the sixth floor of the Vol­un­teer Build­ing on Peachtree Street in At­lanta, hun­dreds of miles from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., be­cause its ini­tial mis­sion to com­bat malaria in the South. Dur­ing the first year of op­er­a­tions, 59% of CDC’s per­son­nel were en­gaged in the malaria erad­i­ca­tion ef­fort.

DDT, avail­able since 1943, was the CDC’s pri­mary weapon against malaria, and the agency’s early chal­lenges in­cluded ob­tain­ing enough trucks, sprayers and shov­els nec­es­sary to wage the war on mos­qui­toes. Over

6.5 mil­lion homes were sprayed. DDT was banned by the EPA in the 1970s be­cause of its se­vere en­vi­ron­men­tal harm.

In 1947, the CDC made a to­ken pay­ment of $10 to Emory Uni­ver­sity for 15 acres on Clifton Road in At­lanta, where its head­quar­ters are to­day.

In re­cent years, the staff has about 22,000 em­ploy­ees and con­trac­tors in 171 oc­cu­pa­tions. The agency says 40% of its em­ploy­ees have mas­ter’s de­grees, 25% have Ph.Ds. and 10% are med­i­cal doc­tors.

A few high­lights of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s his­tory in­clude:

Con­trol of malaria, ty­phus, po­lio, and cholera epi­demics

Clos­ing in on the erad­i­ca­tion of smallpox

Clos­ing in on the pos­si­ble erad­i­ca­tion of po­lio

Com­bat­ing malar­ial trans­mis­sion in the U.S., MERS and En­terovirus-D68 out­breaks

Man­age­ment of an­tibi­otic-re­sis­tant in­fec­tions, birth de­fects and a num­ber of chronic dis­eases

Fight­ing the bat­tle against Ebola in West Africa

Dis­ease de­tec­tives con­tin­u­ing to com­bat new pathogens like the Zika virus and COVID-19

CDC head­quar­ters in At­lanta

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