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Division of Disease Control

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Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is responsible for developing and implementing public health emergency response plans for the City of Philadelphia. We work every day to make sure that Philadelphia is prepared for any kind of public health emergency.

Public health emergencies can be any disaster or crisis that can harm the health of people living in communities throughout Philadelphia. Examples include:

  • Bioterrorism, like anthrax
  • Pandemic influenza, like H1N1 flu
  • Unusual or severe disease, like smallpox

Learn more about public health emergencies

We have developed plans to respond to a variety of public health emergencies. These plans involve our partners at the local, state, and federal levels. We work closely with partners throughout City government, including the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia Fire Department, as well as local health care providers and hospitals.

Learn more about what the PDPH is doing to prepare

You can plan for public health emergencies too. There are steps you can take in advance of an emergency to ensure you have access to food, shelter, and your medications during an emergency. There are also steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from infectious diseases such as pandemic influenza. Flu occurs every winter and flu strains continue to occur among animals (birds, pigs, etc.). Sometimes animal flu strains make people sick, like the H1N1 flu from 2009.

Take the following steps to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the flu:


Learn more about what you can do to prepare for public health emergencies.


Visit the pages below to learn about what public health emergencies are, what we are doing to prepare, and what you can do to prepare.