The following is a CDC timeline of events. More on the organization is available in the article Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
1946 - The Communicable Disease Center was organized in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 1.
1947 - In San Francisco, CDC took over the Public Health Service Plague Laboratory, thus acquiring an Epidemiology Division.
1955 - CDC established the Polio Surveillance Program.
1956 - Dr. William Cherry found the first practical use for the fluorescent technique, which was successful in identifying pathogens that might be used in biological warfare.
1957 - National guidelines for influenza vaccine were developed.
1959 - Dr. Robert Kissling developed the fluorescent antibody test for rabies, first used in a field trial with 100 percent accuracy.
1960 - The Tuberculosis Program moved from the Public Health Service to CDC.
1961 - CDC took over publication of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
1962 - CDC played a key role in one of the greatest triumphs of public health: the eradication of smallpox.
1963 - CDC tested the newly developed Jet Gun and vaccine for smallpox.
1964 - The first Surgeon General’s report linking smoking to lung cancer was released. It stated that “cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action.”
1965 - New surveillance systems added to the original National Surveillance Program of 1952 included measles, shigellosis, tetanus, and trichinosis.
1966 - CDC announced a national measles eradication campaign at the American Public Health Association meeting.
1967 - The Foreign Quarantine Service, one of the oldest and most prestigious units of the Public Health Service, joined CDC.
1968 - CDC investigated an unidentified, highly infectious respiratory disease in Pontiac, Michigan, later identified as Legionnaire’s disease.
1969 - CDC constructed a “biocontainment lab” to protect scientists while they work with deadly and infectious pathogens.
1970 - The Communicable Disease Center became the Center for Disease Control.
1971 - The National Center for Health Statistics conducted the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to capture the health status of Americans.
1974 - CDC planned a major campaign to reverse the downward trend in the number of Americans immunized.
1975 - The last victim of variola major smallpox, the more severe form of the disease, was reported.
1978 - Alcorn County, Mississippi, reported cases of the first outbreak of tuberculosis resistance to formerly effective drugs.
1979 - First Healthy People report published.
1983 - CDC established a Violence Epidemiology Branch to apply public health prevention strategies to child abuse, homicide, and suicide.
1985 - With other government organizations, CDC sponsored the first International Conference on AIDS, which took place in Atlanta.
1986 - The Office on Smoking and Health, which targets the nation’s primary preventable health problem, became part of CDC.
1987 - CDC reported that about 7,000 workers die on the job annually; 42 percent of female workers who die on the job are murdered.
1988 - CDC established the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
1989 - CDC reported the 100,000th AIDS case in the United States.
1990 - For the first time, CDC reported the possible transmission of HIV from a dentist to a patient in Florida during an invasive procedure.
1991 - A CDC study showed that one in five teen deaths is gun-related, and firearm death rates for male teens exceeded those for all natural causes of death.
1992 - The National Academy of Sciences reported on a dangerous new phenomenon: the emergence of new and virulent diseases that are resistant to antibiotics.
1993 - CDC reported that 200,000 Americans had died of AIDS since the epidemic began.
1994 - CDC published a frank brochure on how condoms reduce the transmission of the AIDS virus.
1995 - CDC recommended offering HIV testing to all pregnant women.
1996 - CDC, in partnership with the International Society for Travel Medicine, initiated the GeoSentinel surveillance network to improve travel medicine.
1997 - CDC participated in the nationally televised White House event of the Presidential Apology for the Tuskegee Study.
1998 - For the first time since 1981, AIDS was diagnosed in more African-American and Hispanic men than in gay white men.
1999 - CDC’s Laboratory Response Network was established.
2002 - CDC reported that U.S. newborn HIV infections were down 80 percent since 1981.
2006 - CDC celebrates its 60th anniversary.