What is a Public Health Emergency?

A public health emergency is any adverse event (natural or man-made) that compromises the health of the population and has the potential to cause widespread illness, such as:

  • Illness amongst the public that can occur naturally, (such as flu), or is man-made, (such as and intentional release of anthrax)
  • Illness amongst the public that may cause a larger number of deaths and/or serious disabilities
  • Illness due to a hard to control infectious agent, (such as flu)
  • Illness due to a chemical attack on the public, (such as cyanide gas)
  • Illness due to release of nuclear material, (such as radiology materials used in hospitals)
  • Other illnesses of health hazards that can severely impact the health of the public, whether resulting from natural hazards (tornadoes, floods, etc.) or emerging infectious diseases.

What Types of Public Health Emergencies Does CDPH Address?

The Chicago Department of Public Health's Bureau of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Preparedness engages in planning, training and exercise activities that are aimed at addressing a number of public health threats and emergencies.