What is a Public Health Emergency?

Public health emergencies are events or disasters that threaten the health of communities or groups of people. Some examples are:

  • Disease outbreaks such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
  • Biological terrorist attacks such as an anthrax release
  • Pandemic flu
  • Chemical spills such as chlorine gas
  • Severe weather such as extreme heat
  • Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or wildfires

Professionals from state and local public health departments, hospitals, clinics and community organizations are working together to prepare us for these types of emergencies.