Ever wonder why the CDC is based in Atlanta and not Washington D.C.? Here’s why

ATLANTA — There’s a reason the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in Atlanta and not in Washington D.C.

Actually, there are thousands of reasons - mosquitoes.

The primary mission of the CDC in 1946 was to stop malaria from spreading and researchers set up shop where they found the highest concentration here in the south.

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From the first labs in downtown Atlanta to the campus on Clifton Road where back in the day the CDC paid Emory University $10 for the land to big building upgrades, WSB covered the federal health agency as the goals expanded into a newly stated mission “to protect America from health, safety, and security threats both foreign and in the US.”

Along the way, they achieved big steps for public health like a tracking system for polio, researching sickle cell disease, and fighting smoking, smallpox, and swine flu.

In 2014 there was a high-stakes rescue mission in a deadly ebola outbreak, flying healthcare workers back from Africa for successful treatment and containment at Emory University.

And Channel 2 Action News covered every development as COVID-19 raced around the globe.

From the very first cases in 2020 to the deadly peaks when doctors say the virus was killing 4,000 Americans a day.


Americans masked up and went home or pushed back on restrictions on life-saving vaccines as the virus seemed to target vulnerabilities in our public healthcare system.

The CDC later acknowledged responsibility for large public messaging mistakes leading to a sweeping overhaul of the agency in a changed climate.

Today the nearly 12,000 professionals at the CDC are focused on the future and protecting the health of all Americans.

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